Elephant deaths in train accidents: Sensitive points across 1,800 km of railway tracks identified

The preventive measures could include simple interventions such as construction of ramps to facilitate movement of wild elephants across railway tracks

Press Trust of India September 18, 2022 20:22:14 IST
Elephant deaths in train accidents: Sensitive points across 1,800 km of railway tracks identified

Representative image. Twitter/@drm_apdj

New Delhi: In an effort to reduce elephant deaths in train accidents, the Union Environment Ministry has identified sensitive points along 1,800 kilometers of railway tracks across the country where the probability of such incidents is high.

On a trial basis, the geo-coordinates of around 15 to 20 sensitive points have been shared with the railways which will take preventive measures at these locations, an official said on condition of anonymity.

The measures could include simple interventions such as construction of ramps to facilitate movement of wild elephants across railway tracks.

“The reasons for most accidents include stones along the tracks and steep embankments on either side which make it difficult for young elephants to walk. Many times, they are left behind and the adults get run over while trying to save them,” an official said.

“Mud ramps will be built at these 15-20 sensitive points on a trial basis,” he said.

The railways has also been asked to clear the vegetation, if any, obstructing the view of the railway tracks, especially at bends, at such sensitive locations,” the official said.

According to the ministry’s data shared in Parliament in July, 45 elephants have died in train accidents in the last three years, including 12 in Odisha and 11 in West Bengal.

The ministry is also revisiting 88 elephant corridors in the country to ascertain whether these are “active or have become dysfunctional and if any new corridor has been created”.

The corridors could also be notified to give legal protection to the movement of elephants.

An elephant corridor is a stretch of forested (or otherwise) land that connects larger elephant habitats and serves as a conduit for animal movement.

There are 20 corridors in south India, 12 in north western India, 20 in central India, 14 in northern West Bengal and 22 in north-eastern India.

Elephants regularly use 77.3 percent of the total corridors.

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