‘Night, early morning trains cause most elephant deaths’

Late night and early morning trains had caused the deaths of seven out of eight elephants on the two railway lines, A and B, between Kottekad and Madukkarai railway stations in the last five years, according to the Palakkad Division of the Southern Railway.

As per the data shared by the Division, seven elephants were killed on the two railway lines between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The time of the death of the eighth elephant was not known.

While seven elephants were killed after being hit by trains on B line, only one elephant was killed on A line, said the division in reply to various queries made by activist R. Pandiyaraja of Tenkasi district under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

According to the Division, five out of the eight elephants were killed on the 5.8 km stretch of B line on either side of Walayar railway station — 4 km towards Ettimadai and 1.8 km towards Kanjikode.

The RTI document said that A line runs through reserve forest for 17 km between Chullimada — Madukkarai stations and B line passes through reserve forest for 23 km between Madukkarai — Kanjikode stations.

“These data shows that all the elephants were killed after being hit by trains at night and early morning. Thiruvananthapuram — Chennai Mail (12624) knocked down two elephants in separate incidents. As seven out of eight deaths occurred on B line, trains that pass through B line at night and early morning should be diverted through line A. The permanent solution is to stop traffic through the B line and bring it along the A line,” said Mr. Pandiyaraja.

He also noted that all the eight elephant deaths, except the one that was reported in March this year, occurred between June and December.

Nature enthusiast Dayanand Krishnan said that the Railways and the Forest Department should jointly collect data of elephant deaths on tracks and map them for correction actions. “Based on the mapping, technologies should be improved to reduce further accidents involving elephants,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 8:07:46 PM |

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