19:54 GMT28 February 2021
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    The decision by the country’s environmental watchdog comes two months after seven elephants died of coming into contact with electric wires in Dhenkanal district of Odisha State.

    The National Green Tribunal(NGT) of India has imposed a fine on the state government of Odisha over the electrocution of elephants in the state.

    The NGT fine of 40 million Indian rupees ($5.7 million) has been imposed on Odisha state's Central Electrical Supply Undertaking (CESU) for its laxity towards the safety of humans and animals. This penalty by NGT is in addition to the previous fine of 10 million Indian rupees ($1.5 million) on CESU, which NGT had levied in lieu of Suo-motu cognizance of media reports in the month of October. 

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    On October 26 of this year, 7 elephants were electrocuted when they came into contact with a carelessly-laid cable supplying power to a railway construction site from an 11 KV line in the Dhenkanal Sadar forest in Odisha. One of the deceased elephants was pregnant with an 18-month foetus. The green tribunal was especially furious about reports that CESU had not acted on complaints by forest officials in this regard, which led to the elephant deaths.

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    "The deaths of the elephants was due to sheer carelessness. Our organisation had on several occasions informed the forest department about 200 locations in Dhenkanal alone where high voltage power lines are open and prone to cause calamity and deaths. These deaths were murder", Dr Biswajit Mohanty of Wildlife Society of Odisha, told local media about the historic NGT decision. 

    The region was gripped with civil tension after the incident in October with locals holding railway construction site and power department responsible for the deaths of the animals.


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