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Railways, forest dept join forces to save wild elephants

November 16, 2011 18:25 IST

Meet to devise strategy to minimise elephant deaths due to train hits. K Anurag reports

The Northeast Frontier Railway and West Bengal Forest Department have chalked out a joint strategy to save wild elephants that often stray onto railway tracks in forested areas leading to fatal collisions with trains.

A "co-ordination meeting" of the "Permanent Coordination Committee" comprising officials of NFR and West Bengal Forest department held in Guwahati at the NFR headquarter on Wednesday devised a strategy to save wild elephants.

Dr Krishnamurthy, chief conservator of forest, West Bengal led officials from the forest department, West Bengal and Keshav Chandra, general manager, N F Railway led the NFR team to the meeting. 

The NFR general manager expressed concerned about elephants deaths due to collision with running trains and mooted joint action by the railway as well as the forest authorities to prevent elephant mortality in the reserve forest areas by the railway tracks in West Bengal areas. 

The meeting decided on various steps to be taken to minimise elephants' deaths due to train hits after a detail review of the problem.

It was decided to use available technological gadgets to forewarn train drivers about the presence of elephants on the track, construct under passes/over passes across railway track to facilitate unhindered movement of elephants so that they don't dangerously cross over the track, erect watch towers at vulnerable locations by forest department to monitor movement of wild elephants near the railway track, clear vegetation on both sides of the track to ensure clear visibility for loco-drivers.

It was decided to set up close co-ordination between forest officials and railway officials to facilitate prompt sharing of information about movements of elephants on and around the railway track.
K Anurag in Guwahati