Timely action by Northeast Frontier Railway saved 165 elephants in 2019

Photo for representation purpose only.

Photo for representation purpose only.

Locomotive pilots D.K. Das and A.K. Roy avoided hitting a herd of 25 elephants near Dekargaon station in north-central Assam’s Sonitpur district on Wednesday morning. Guided by Station Master L.R. Bordoloi and a gateman, they stopped the train in time to help the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) save some 165 elephants this year.

There are 67 notified elephant corridors across five divisions of NFR covering the northeastern States, northern West Bengal and parts of eastern Bihar. Data with the Railways says that 49 elephants were run down by trains across India from 2016-2018, and a significant number was in areas under the NFR.

But, NFR officials said that the awareness level among locomotive pilots has increased. As a consequence, they have been stopping trains to let elephants pass, and adhering to speed limits in vulnerable sections such as Banarhat-Nagrakata in the Dooars area of West Bengal and in the Lumding section of Assam.

“Various preventive measures have resulted in saving about 140 elephants during the current year. The alertness shown by our employees at Dekargaon makes it 165 elephants saved,” an NFR spokesperson said.

Trains in the zone avoided collision with 115 elephants in 2018, 119 in 2017, 145 in 2016 and 118 in 2015.

“Although the elephant corridors are notified jointly in consultation with the Forest Department of the respective States, there has been an increasing trend in elephants crossing railway tracks through areas that are not notified as corridors. Cases of elephant hits have come down drastically in notified areas, while the hits these days are in non-notified areas where it is difficult for the drivers to stop suddenly,” the spokesperson said.

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Printable version | May 19, 2022 6:37:27 am |