Train hits claim 45 elephants in three years in the country, says Union Minister

A total of 45 elephants were killed on railway tracks in the country from 2019 to 21, according to Union Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnav in reply to a question by S. Ramalingam, DMK MP from Mayiladuthurai, in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

As per the Minister’s reply, a total of 19 elephants were killed in railway tracks in 2021, the highest in the three years.

While the highest number of deaths, 15, happened within the limits of the Northeast Frontier Railway, the Southern Railway stood at the second position with nine deaths during the period.

Though Mr. Ramalingam asked for State-wise data on elephant deaths on railway tracks in the three years, the Minister replied that details of elephant deaths are maintained by the Railways zone-wise as railway zones are spread beyond State boundaries.

To a question whether the Ministry was in the process of signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Central Forest Department to construct a tunnel to allow elephants to cross unhindered to avoid the death of the animals on railway tracks, the Minister replied in the negative.

Railway enthusiast and RTI activist R. Pandiyaraja of Tenkasi said that figures listed by the Minister were alarming and appropriate measures have to be taken to prevent wild elephants from getting hit by moving trains.

“As most of the collisions happen at night, frequency and speed of night trains in accident-prone areas can be reduced. Elevated tracks or large-sized underpasses for elephants could be constructed in such locations as a permanent solution. Artificial intelligence and technologies like thermal sensor cameras have also been found effective in preventing such accidents,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 9:10:42 pm |