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Gujarat: Loco pilot halts goods train instantly after seeing 10 lions on the tracks; earns praise

The incident took place when Mukesh Kumar Meena was piloting the goods train from Pipavav Port station to a siding (a short track beside the main corridor), a release from Western Railway's Bhavnagar division said.
Last Updated : 17 June 2024, 14:23 IST

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Bhavnagar: The loco pilot of a goods train saved the lives of 10 lions after applying emergency brakes on spotting them on the tracks near Pipavav Port in Gujarat's Amreli district in the early hours of Monday, a railway official said.

The incident took place when Mukesh Kumar Meena was piloting the goods train from Pipavav Port station to a siding (a short track beside the main corridor), a release from Western Railway's Bhavnagar division said.

"Meena stopped the train by applying emergency brakes as soon as he spotted 10 lions resting on the tracks. He waited till the lions got up and moved away from the tracks. He then took the train to its destination. This commendable work by the loco pilot was praised by officials," the release said.

"Continuous efforts are being made by Bhavnagar Division for the safety of wildlife, including lions. As instructed, the loco pilots on this route remain vigilant and ply trains as per the prescribed speed limit", the WR release added.

In videos taken by Meena in torchlight before sunrise, the lions can be seen walking along the tracks before disappearing into the thicket alongside.

Notably, several lions have died in the last few years on this railway line connecting Pipavav Port with north Gujarat. Though the port is situated at a considerable distance from the outer periphery of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, lions visit this area at regular intervals, as per officials.

The state forest department has erected fences along the track at regular intervals to save the lions from getting hit by trains.

In the recent past, the Gujarat High Court, while hearing a suo motu PIL over the death of Asiatic lions due to unnatural causes, had asked the state government and Railways to take concrete steps to save lions from getting hit by the trains.

As per the last census conducted in June 2020, Gujarat is home to 674 Asiatic lions.

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Published 17 June 2024, 14:23 IST

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