186 elephants killed on railway tracks in over 10 years: MoEFCC

An elephant which died after being run over by speeding train in Odisha. File.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A total of 186 elephants were killed after being hit by trains across India between 2009-10 and 2020-21, according to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India.

As per the data furnished by the Project Elephant Division of the Ministry, Assam accounted for the highest number of elephant casualties on railway tracks (62), followed by West Bengal (57), and Odisha (27). Uttar Pradesh saw a single death.

Trains claimed the highest number of pachyderms in 2012-13, when 27 elephants were killed in 10 States as per the data accessed by activist R. Pandiyaraja from Tenkasi district in Tamil Nadu through the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

K. Muthamizh Selvan, Scientist ‘D’ and Central Public Information Officer (Project Elephant), said in the RTI reply that various measures had been taken to avoid elephant casualties on railway lines.

According to the Ministry, a Permanent Coordination Committee has been constituted between the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board) and the MoEFCC for preventing elephant deaths in train accidents.

186 elephants killed on railway tracks in over 10 years: MoEFCC

The formation of coordination committees of officers of Indian Railways and State Forest Departments; clearing of vegetation along railway tracks to enable clear view for loco pilots; signage boards at suitable points to alert loco pilots about elephant presence; moderating slopes of elevated sections of railway tracks; underpass/overpass for safe passage of elephants; regulation of train speed from sunset to sunrise in vulnerable stretches; and regular patrolling of vulnerable stretches of railway tracks by frontline staff of the Forest Department and wildlife watchers, were among other initiatives the Ministry had undertaken.

The MoEFCC also stated that it released ₹212.49 crore to elephant range States under Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) of Project Elephant to protect elephants, their habitat and corridors, to address issues of man-elephant conflict and welfare of captive elephants, between 2011-12 and 2020-21. Kerala stood at the top in getting CSS funds of ₹35.39 crore during the period. Punjab received the lowest of the funds — ₹ 1.82 lakh, said the RTI document.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 12:31:50 AM |

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