Tamil Nadu

Eight elephants have died due to train hits

Palakkad, Kerala, 04/11/2017. An wild elephant entering railway track at Kanjikode-Walayar stretch in Palakkad. This stretch is highly sensitized as being the main place where a large number of elephant crossings take place. With wild elephants continuing crop raid on a massive scale in Malampuzha-Walayar region and posing severe threat to normal life, Forest Department has speeded up the process to implement a rail fencing project, replicating the model set by Karnataka’s Nagarhole National Park to mitigate human-wildlife conflict Photo: K. K. Mustafah.  

Eight elephants were killed after being hit by trains on the two railway lines, A and B, between Kanjikode and Madukkarai from 2016 to 2021, according to the Palakkad division of the Southern Railway.

In reply to a query under the Right to Information Act, the division said the A and B lines passed through the forest and seven of the eight elephant deaths were reported on the B line.

The division said there was no plan to shift the track on the B line, which passed through a dense forest. It furnished the reply to R. Pandiyaraja of Pavoorchatram, in Tenkasi district, in response to his application under the RTI Act.

According to the division, widening of cutting and cess were done at various places to create sufficient space for elephants to move away on seeing trains.

While ₹2.43 crore was spent on widening of cutting on the sides of the track from track location 513/500 to 519/400 B in 2017, a sum of ₹1.59 crore was awarded for widening of cutting on a 5-km stretch from track location 500 to 505 B in 2020. A tender for further widening of the cutting from track location 510 to 512/500 and 487 to 492 B at a cost of ₹3.1 crore is under finalisation, the division said.

Sign boards to warn loco pilots, clearance of vegetation on the sides of the track, speed restriction on vulnerable sections (65 kmph during daytime and 45 kmph during night), elephant ramps on high embankments, lights to ward off elephants in cuttings, installation of audio alarms in the form of honey bee buzzing and a WhatsApp group of Railways and Forest Department officials were among other the measures taken to avoid elephants being hit by trains, said the division.

“Suspension of traffic on the track on B line during the night and bringing the track on B line to the A line, which passes through considerably smaller patches of forest, are other solutions that can reduce such accidents,” added Mr. Pandiyaraja.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 7:56:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/eight-elephants-have-died-due-to-train-hits/article34292617.ece

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