Permanent Body to Prevent Elephant Deaths on Railway Tracks

A permanent coordination committee has been set up by the Union Environment Ministry that also includes the Ministry of Railways to prevent the deaths of elephants on railway tracks.

Overview:

  • In 2018-19, 19 elephants were killed on railway tracks across the country.
  • In 2019-20, 14 elephants were killed and in 2020-21 the number stands at 12.
  • Several steps have been taken to reduce the number of elephants’ deaths on railway tracks.
  • According to a Comptroller and Auditor General report, the second-largest reason for the deaths of elephants in an unnatural manner was railway collisions.

The steps taken to prevent the deaths of elephants on railway tracks

The steps taken include

  • making temporary as well as permanent restrictions on speed in areas identified as elephant habitats and corridors and habitats,
  • ramps and underpasses have also been built for the easy movement of elephants,
  • at selected locations fencing have been provided,
  • signages have been erected to warn the drivers of the trains about elephant corridors,
  • station masters and the crew of the trains have been sensitized so that train collisions with elephants are avoided,
  • vegetation on the sides of the track has also been cleared,
  • Forest Department staff have also been deputized to liaison with the railway authorities,
  • the forest departments have engaged elephant trackers so that they can alert engine drivers and station masters,
  • Meetings have been held between railway departments and state forest departments.

Publishing of a document

The Wildlife Institute of India, which falls under the ambit of the Environment Ministry, has published a document titled ‘Eco-Friendly Measures to Mitigate Impacts of Linear Infrastructure’ with the aim of assisting the various agencies in designing infrastructure to reduce animal-human conflicts. This document has been published in consultation with the National Highway Authority, Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, World Bank Group, and National Tiger Conservation Authority.

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