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Steps taken to check animal casualty, Green Tribunal told

By AJIT PATOWARY

GUWAHATI, March 14 � To ensure proper compliance with speed limits in the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) stretch of the National Highway 37 for the sake of preventing animal casualty, the State government is trying to procure two interceptor vehicles, in addition to the three operational interceptors, at a cost of Rs 54.64 lakh. It is also going to spend another Rs 20 lakh for buying breath analysers for the purpose.

This was disclosed by the State government in an affidavit signed by Joydeep Shukla, Extra Assistant Commissioner (EAC), New Delhi Assam Bhawan and submitted before the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on March 12 in connection with the Application Number 174 of 2013 (Rohit Choudhury versus Union of India and others). Through this affidavit, the State government informed the Tribunal of the steps taken by it in response to the latter�s directive of February 5.

It further said that the recommendation of the expert committee formed as per the directive of the Tribunal, to construct flyovers on the NH-37, �may be modified� due to the fact that new areas have been added to the KNP and additional animal corridors have been identified.

It further said alternative solutions like tunnels would be explored instead of flyovers to reduce disturbance to wild animals during the construction phase. The aerial ropeway bridge proposed for arboreal animal crossing is also proposed to be replaced by a vegetated corridor.

The proposal needs to be reviewed/approved/financed by the stakeholders like the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

Regarding the animal sensors automated barrier asked to be put by the NGT along the NH-37, the State government said that there is no field tested and proven system in India. The various technologies available for detection need to be studied and field trial done to find out the best suitable technology for the KNP.

It also pointed to the difficulties in the use of sensor-operated automatic barriers, like automated electro-mechanical gates taking several seconds to operate, serious accidents may result from sudden closing with such a barrier, chaos resulting from false alarms, closure of the gates for a long time at the sight of grazing wild animals by the side of the road but with no intention of crossing until the animal moves away. Moreover, in long animal corridors like in KNP, which run into kilometres, the location and number of barriers cannot be fixed as animals can be detected at any point in the long corridors.

Therefore, the State government proposed activating warning lights or signboards initially by manual intervention with the use of thermal (infra red) camera and night vision binoculars.

A team is being formed to study and suggest technology for implementation of sensing device, the EAC informed the NGT.

Action has been initiated to install unmanned fixed speed cameras at both ends of the identified corridors. These systems would be an integral part of the animal sensor network, said the State government.

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Steps taken to check animal casualty, Green Tribunal told

GUWAHATI, March 14 � To ensure proper compliance with speed limits in the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) stretch of the National Highway 37 for the sake of preventing animal casualty, the State government is trying to procure two interceptor vehicles, in addition to the three operational interceptors, at a cost of Rs 54.64 lakh. It is also going to spend another Rs 20 lakh for buying breath analysers for the purpose.

This was disclosed by the State government in an affidavit signed by Joydeep Shukla, Extra Assistant Commissioner (EAC), New Delhi Assam Bhawan and submitted before the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on March 12 in connection with the Application Number 174 of 2013 (Rohit Choudhury versus Union of India and others). Through this affidavit, the State government informed the Tribunal of the steps taken by it in response to the latter�s directive of February 5.

It further said that the recommendation of the expert committee formed as per the directive of the Tribunal, to construct flyovers on the NH-37, �may be modified� due to the fact that new areas have been added to the KNP and additional animal corridors have been identified.

It further said alternative solutions like tunnels would be explored instead of flyovers to reduce disturbance to wild animals during the construction phase. The aerial ropeway bridge proposed for arboreal animal crossing is also proposed to be replaced by a vegetated corridor.

The proposal needs to be reviewed/approved/financed by the stakeholders like the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

Regarding the animal sensors automated barrier asked to be put by the NGT along the NH-37, the State government said that there is no field tested and proven system in India. The various technologies available for detection need to be studied and field trial done to find out the best suitable technology for the KNP.

It also pointed to the difficulties in the use of sensor-operated automatic barriers, like automated electro-mechanical gates taking several seconds to operate, serious accidents may result from sudden closing with such a barrier, chaos resulting from false alarms, closure of the gates for a long time at the sight of grazing wild animals by the side of the road but with no intention of crossing until the animal moves away. Moreover, in long animal corridors like in KNP, which run into kilometres, the location and number of barriers cannot be fixed as animals can be detected at any point in the long corridors.

Therefore, the State government proposed activating warning lights or signboards initially by manual intervention with the use of thermal (infra red) camera and night vision binoculars.

A team is being formed to study and suggest technology for implementation of sensing device, the EAC informed the NGT.

Action has been initiated to install unmanned fixed speed cameras at both ends of the identified corridors. These systems would be an integral part of the animal sensor network, said the State government.