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Eight elephants knocked down by trains in WB in 2012-13

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A total of eight elephants had died after being knocked down by trains in between January 2012-February 2013, state Forest Minister said today.

Hiten Barman provided the statistics on elephant deaths in the state Assembly.

Later he told newsmen that the state government along with is set to take immediate measures to protect the elephants.

"On March 18 there will be a high level meeting between Northeastern Frontier Railways, central environmental officials and state forest department," the minister said.

He said four to five groups of 'watchers', with four members each, will be formed and provided with walky-talky sets by the Railways to keep tab of elephants movement and inform it accordingly so that there are no more knock-downs.

The minister said a demonstration of a device which creates signals in case elephants are on rail tracks in the entire 160 km stretch between Siliguri and Alipurduar in north Bengal would also be carried out.

The device will also incorporate alarm systems and if it gets the required approval the state government will use it in the forest department vehicles.

Barman said since 2007, a total of 19 elephants died in train accidents.

However, the number of elephants in the state had grown from 530 in 2010 to 650 in 2012, he said.

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