The National Green Tribunal on Thursday levied an additional fine of Rs 4 crore on Odisha’s Central Electrical Supply Undertaking for negligence in connection with the deaths of seven elephants in Dhenkanal district in October, the Hindustan Times reported. The animals had died on October 26 after coming in contact with a live wire in Kamalanga village.
“The NGT has slapped a Rs 4-crore penalty on CESU for non-compliance with its order,” Odisha TV quoted advocate Shankar Prasad Pani as saying. “If you consider the subject matter of the case, from 2000 to 2018, around 179 elephants have lost their lives in electrocution in Odisha only.”
Four days after the deaths, the green tribunal headed by Justice Adarsh Goel had imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore on the state electricity board for alleged negligence, and had set up a three-member committee to investigate the matter.
State Forest Minister Bijayshree Routray had described the incident as “most unfortunate” and accused the electricity department of negligence. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had ordered an inquiry by the Crime Branch and directed authorities to take appropriate action in case of any criminal negligence.
Later, the state government had suspended six officials and sacked a junior engineer of the Central Electricity Supply Utility, according to reports.
The seven elephants, part of a herd of 13, had died after coming in contact with an overhanging 11-kV line. It was the most elephants killed in a single incident in the eastern state.