Sluggish Progress In Measures To Prevent Elephant Deaths, Says Forest Dept

Bhubaneswar: Not much progress has been achieved in initiatives to be taken both by the electricity distribution companies (discoms) and the railways to prevent death of elephants in Odisha.

This was revealed at the meetings held by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) with discoms and the railways here today.

“As per an earlier decision electricity discoms were to complete cabling and rectification of sagging live wires at several places by December 2018. Only 30-40 percent has been achieved till date,” informed HS Upadhay, PCCF (Wildlife) briefing reporters here today after the meetings.

“During talks with their (discom) officers we came to know that these works (targets) will be completed by June or even December next year,” he added.

The PCCF (Wildlife) said that the discom officers ascribed the slow progress due to constraints in availability of funds and large scale damage caused by Cyclone Fani.

Similarly, the railways have complained that restriction on speed of trains on long stretches was causing delay in the movement of trains and thus affecting the economy at large.

“They have been repeatedly complaining about the speed restrictions on long stretches which was resulting in delay in movement of trains. We have decided for speedier information sharing between our field level officers and railways through VHF,” Upadhay said.

“We discussed about safe train operation at the meeting.An operation so that no elephant is killed, injured or hit. Lessening of train speed in sections where elephants cross railway tracks result in late running of trains and goods trains which affect the economy at large,” pointed out S Kapil, Chief Passenger Transportation Manager.

Kapil suggested for construction of under passes for elephants similar to the ones being constructed to do away with level crossings to check the death of the jumbos.

He said that for construction of underpasses the Forest department has to pay the cost to the railways which would undertake the job.

Kapil further said that the Forest department has been told to bring improvement at the supervision level at control rooms for issuing caution orders to railways on the movement of jumbos.

HS Upadhay, PCCF (Wildlife)

S Kapil, Chief Passenger Transportation Manager