New Delhi: More than 32,000 animals, including cattle, lions and leopards, have been killed on railway tracks in the past three years, according to data provided by the railways.
Additionally, this year, till June 20, 3,479 animals were killed after being run over by trains. This does not include elephants, 60 of whom were killed in the last three years and five this year till June 20.
While in 2016, 7,945 animals were mowed down by trains, in 2017, the number rose to 11,683 and in 2018, it was 12,625 bringing the total number of animals killed between 2016 and 2018 to 32,253.
A senior railway official acknowledged the problem and said that while the number of train accidents was decreasing, the number of animal deaths on tracks which were around 3,000-4,000 in 2014-2015 has been increasing, which is a cause of concern.
Trains are also bearing the brunt of cattle run over cases. Earlier this year, newly launched Vande Bharat Express, was hit by stray cattle and its aerodynamic nose, which is made of steel with a fibre cover on it, had to be replaced.
The railways is now planning to fence off tracks that are around open areas such as fields to avoid these incidents. Railways security personnel are also sensitising farmers to keep their cattle off the tracks, but that doesn’t seem to be working.