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Steps taken to ensure safety of pachyderms: NFR

By Pranjal Bhuyan

GUWAHATI, July 22 � As wildlife conservationists and others rue incidents of elephants getting killed by trains, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) said that steps have been taken to ensure safety of pachyderms, even while ensuring smooth passage of trains.

As per NFR data, eight elephants have been killed and three had sustained injuries after being hit by running trains in the NFR region since January this year.

�We are as much concerned about it as any other member of the public. Way back in 2010, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest had issued a general advisory for prevention of accidents involving elephants and we have taken steps to adhere to it,� a senior NFR official said.

The official said that over Rs 80 lakh have been spent in the last three years for construction of ramps to enable elephants to climb inclines at places where the railway tracks are shadowed by hillocks on both the sides.

He added that in the 10 identified elephant corridors falling under NFR drivers are issued permanent caution orders to restrict speed limit to maximum 50 km per hour, along with constant whistling.

�In addition to the identified elephant corridors, there are a few local sections in between Salsa-Nagrakata and Gulma-Sivok sections in Alipurduar division where the Railways has imposed speed restrictions on its own,� the official said.�

Steps for clearing vegetation within railway land in consultation with forest departments for ensuring clear vision to drivers, placing of signages for benefit of drivers, sensitization of railway staff and clearing of food wastes along the tracks are taken, he added.

He called for more understanding of technical aspects. �The weight of a goods train is around 1,300 MT with full load. The braking distance of such a train running at 75 kmph is 655 metres. It would be about 450 metres at the speed of 50 kmph. Thus, a driver needs a warning of elephants� presence on a railway track at least half a kilometre ahead.�

The official said that in West Bengal, there is a greater coordination with the Forest department whose personnel monitor passage of elephants and inform the Railways about latest movements, which are then conveyed to the drivers.

�Many experts� reports have pointed to the loss of habitat due to which elephants are forced to move to other places. To tackle the issue properly, joint effort of the Railways, state governments and conservationists are required,� he said.

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Steps taken to ensure safety of pachyderms: NFR

GUWAHATI, July 22 � As wildlife conservationists and others rue incidents of elephants getting killed by trains, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) said that steps have been taken to ensure safety of pachyderms, even while ensuring smooth passage of trains.

As per NFR data, eight elephants have been killed and three had sustained injuries after being hit by running trains in the NFR region since January this year.

�We are as much concerned about it as any other member of the public. Way back in 2010, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest had issued a general advisory for prevention of accidents involving elephants and we have taken steps to adhere to it,� a senior NFR official said.

The official said that over Rs 80 lakh have been spent in the last three years for construction of ramps to enable elephants to climb inclines at places where the railway tracks are shadowed by hillocks on both the sides.

He added that in the 10 identified elephant corridors falling under NFR drivers are issued permanent caution orders to restrict speed limit to maximum 50 km per hour, along with constant whistling.

�In addition to the identified elephant corridors, there are a few local sections in between Salsa-Nagrakata and Gulma-Sivok sections in Alipurduar division where the Railways has imposed speed restrictions on its own,� the official said.�

Steps for clearing vegetation within railway land in consultation with forest departments for ensuring clear vision to drivers, placing of signages for benefit of drivers, sensitization of railway staff and clearing of food wastes along the tracks are taken, he added.

He called for more understanding of technical aspects. �The weight of a goods train is around 1,300 MT with full load. The braking distance of such a train running at 75 kmph is 655 metres. It would be about 450 metres at the speed of 50 kmph. Thus, a driver needs a warning of elephants� presence on a railway track at least half a kilometre ahead.�

The official said that in West Bengal, there is a greater coordination with the Forest department whose personnel monitor passage of elephants and inform the Railways about latest movements, which are then conveyed to the drivers.

�Many experts� reports have pointed to the loss of habitat due to which elephants are forced to move to other places. To tackle the issue properly, joint effort of the Railways, state governments and conservationists are required,� he said.

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