Jagjit Singh Implores Railway Minister To Slow Down Elephant-Killing Trains

Singer Calls On Ministry to Use Successfully Tested Speed-Detection Guns to Monitor Trains That Run Through Forest Areas

For Immediate Release: 

20 April 2011

Contact:

Benazir Suraiya +91 9004547382; [email protected]

Dr Manilal Valliyate +91 7738387108; [email protected] 

Delhi – This morning, on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, iconic ghazal singer Jagjit Singh sent a letter to Railways Minister Kumari Mamata Banerjee, who is currently campaigning in the West Bengal elections, calling on her to use her time in the Ministry to limit the speed of trains running through elephant corridors and to use speed-detection guns – successfully demonstrated by PETA– to monitor train speeds. Singh’s plea follows the recent deaths of seven elephants who were killed in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district by a train that was travelling at an excessive speed of approximately 70 kilometres per hour. About 150 elephants have been killed by trains since 1987.

“It is difficult to understand why elephants continue to die when there are ways to solve this problem”, writes Singh, who notes that strict speed limits are particularly important in areas where elephants are common. “A speed-detection device, which PETA has procured and demonstrated, offers an effective, simple way to slow down trains. Drivers going at dangerous speeds could be punished, and notifying conductors that such monitoring is taking place will encourage them to slow down.”

Collisions between trains and elephants occur with staggering regularity, and there is a 100 per cent mortality rate for the elephants who are directly hit. Train deaths are considered a key threat to Indian elephants. PETA and Singh assert that in order for elephants to survive, it is imperative that train speeds be drastically reduced.

A copy of Jagjit Singh’s letter to the Railways Minister is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.

Jagjit Singh’s letter to Railways Minister Kumari Mamata Banerjee follows.

The Honourable Kumari Mamata Banerjee

Minister of Railways

Railway Board,

Rail BhawanRaisina Road

New Delhi 110 001

Dear Madam Minister,

When I learned from my friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India that elephants are being hit and killed by trains on our railways, I was appalled. I trust you agree that these animals must be protected, and I hope you will take immediate steps to put safeguards into place.

It is difficult to understand why elephants continue to die when there are ways to solve this problem. A speed-detection device, which PETA has procured and demonstrated, offers an effective, simple way to slow down trains. Drivers going at dangerous speeds could be punished, and notifying conductors that such monitoring is taking place will encourage them to slow down. 

The speed limits must also be significantly reduced in elephant corridors. Allowing trains to move up to 50 kph in north Bengal elephant corridors virtually guarantees that more deaths will occur because even the fastest elephants won’t stand a chance.

PETA India’s chief functionary, Poorva Joshipura, can act as my liasion. She can be reached at [email protected]

I am confident that you will take steps to address this situation without delay, and I look forward to hearing that the process is underway. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours,

Jagjit Singh