New plan to save jumbos from train hits
- With 186 elephants officially reported to have been killed in collisions with trains in the past decade.
- The Environment and Railway Ministries are exploring a project to minimise the number of such accidents.
Proposals in discussion
- Geographical patterns to be analysed to propose measures that the Railways can feasibly implement.
- The Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, an autonomous body, and the Environment Ministry have had an initial round of discussions with Railway officials to spearhead the new initiative.
- States with the highest elephant numbers were not always the ones with the most deaths.
- Assam, West Bengal and Uttarakhand were hilly States that saw the most number of casualties.
- Slopes were a tricky terrain for elephants and when the animals attempted to cross railway lines, they lingered longer near or on tracks resulting in collisions.
- They take more time to descend slopes.
- Creating underpasses or dedicated elephant passes near existing lines are not always feasible for the Railways, given the expenses, as it required as much as 20 km of pathway on either side of the track.
Other measures taken by Government
- Providing fencing at selected locations.
- Erecting signage boards to warn locomotive pilots about identified elephant corridors.
- Sensitising train crew and stationmasters on a regular basis.
- Clearing vegetation on the sides of the track within railway land.
- Deputing a Forest Department staffer in Railway control offices to liaison with Railway.
- Forest Department engage elephant trackers for timely action by alerting stationmasters and locomotive pilots.
- Elephant corridors
- Elephant WLS and distribution