Tamil Nadu

Rail line had electric fences on either side

A field with electric fencing on the side of the railway line where the Chennai-bound train hit three elephants near Walayar in Coimbatore district on Friday. Photo: SPL  

The farmland on either side of the rail line where a train knocked down three elephants in Coimbatore district on Friday night had electric fences, which could have restricted the movement of the animals, according to nature enthusiasts.

They said the elephants — a pregnant female, an adult ‘makna’ and a calf — could have walked alongside the track, even after sensing that the train was approaching, because of the presence of the electric fences.

Nature enthusiast K. Mohanraj said the farmland on both sides of the A line had electric fences. On the right side of the line towards Coimbatore, where the incident occurred, two-layer fencing was done, he said. Another nature enthusiast said that being very intelligent, elephants would try to avoid a fenced area.

K. Kalidas, of ‘Osai’, an environmental organisation, said those into agriculture in the area were traditional farmers whose intention was only to safeguard their crops from elephants and wild boars.

According to the Forest Department, the nearest reserve forest area from the accident spot is around 200 metres. Officials said the elephants could have been hit while they were walking away from the forest, possibly for raiding crops.

The Palakkad Division of Southern Railway said the Mangaluru- Chennai Express (12602) hit the elephants while they were “crossing” the track between Walayar and Ettimadai. “The loco pilots stated that the visibility was very poor on the stretch and they did not see the elephants until the locomotive came very close to them. They said they did not have the reaction time to avoid the collision,” Conservator of Forests S. Ramasubramanian said.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 6:55:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/rail-line-had-electric-fences-on-either-side/article37743725.ece

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