Ranchi: The presence of mind of two loco pilots in Jharkhand saved the lives of 12 elephants of Palamu Tiger Reserve. It is being said that at around 6 pm on Friday, a train was going towards Bengal via Palamu Tiger Reserve at a speed of 70 km per hour. It was then that locomotive pilots suddenly spotted a herd of elephants crossing the tracks between Chipdohar and Hehegra railway stations. Subsequently, Assistant Loco Pilot Rajnikant Chaubey and Loco Pilot AK Vidyarthi pulled the emergency brake rapidly and the train stopped about 60 meters away from the herd.
Loco pilot Choubey said that there was no limit to the speed on the part where the incident took place, but after the 'caution line' was 500 meters away, the speed limit was 25 kilometres per hour. An official of the Palamu Tiger Reserve said that the existing double-line passes through an 11-km distance between Chhipadohar and Hehegra in the main area of the reserve. Spread over an area of 1129.93 sq km, the reserve has 47 species of mammals and 174 species of birds. There are about 250 elephants in the reserve.
Kumar Ashutosh, field director of Palamu Tiger Reserve, said, "We thank the loco pilots for saving the lives of 12 elephants. He said the continuous movement of trains through the dense forest threatens the wildlife in the reserve. He said several elephants had been killed in the past in this stretch. I would urge other loco pilots to be cautious like Choubey and Vidyarthi.