The number of cases of cattle being run over by speeding trains across the country have more than doubled, The Indian Express reported on Sunday. A majority of such cases have reportedly happened in North Central Railway, Northern Railway in Delhi and West Central Railway in Madhya Pradesh, with each accounting to 18% of all bovine deaths on tracks.
While the number of cases across Indian Railways between 2015 and 2016 was 2,813, it jumped to more than 10,000 in the financial year ending March 2018, the report said. Since April this year, at least 6,900 bovine have been run over by trains – a 112% increase from the same period last financial year.
There have been at least 1,300 cases of cattle being run over in North Central Railway in Uttar Pradesh alone since April, according to the newspaper. Only 349 bovine deaths were reported in the same period last year.
“It is a social problem,” Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani told The Indian Express. “Our tracks are not fenced and run through open fields in the country. Often cattle come on the tracks and get run over. Cattle owners are aware of this.”
President of the Progressive Dairy Farmers’ Association in Punjab, Daljit Singh, blamed farmers for abandoning cows after they stop producing milk. Authorities said that the number of cases have increased as cattle are often brought to graze on green patches along the tracks. Railway staff have tried to sensitise villagers, but the cases continue.
“We lose punctuality while extricating the cattle from the track and restoring operations; often the engine gets damaged and fails,” Divisional Railway Manager of Jabalpur Manoj Singh said.