New Delhi: Expressing concern at the alarming increase in elephant deaths because of collisions with trains, environment minister Anil Madhav Dave has asked his counterpart in the railway ministry to take steps to prevent such deaths.
The letter said speeding trains have killed 18 elephants in the past five months and asked railway minister Suresh Prabhu to restrict train speed in vulnerable sections at night, put railway staff on high alert and construct under passes or over passes for the animals.
“I would request you to issue suitable notifications to the railway authorities in this regard," Dave said in the January letter to Prabhu.
A similar letter was written by the director general of forests S.S. Negi in December. He had asked states to put frontline staff on high alert and take suitable preventive actions to minimize deaths or injury to elephants and other wild animals due to train accidents.
In August, Dave sought a detailed report on train accidents in West Bengal in which three elephants were killed.
A case on the issue is also going on at the Supreme Court where environment ministry had submitted an affidavit in 2014, proposing a special thrust to the use of technology, especially 24X7electronic surveillance and wireless sensors, to curb elephant fatalities due to collisions with trains.
The ministry has also initiated steps to prepare a regional landscape plan for the conservation of elephants in the East Central Elephant Landscape, comprising the states of West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and other elephant areas, where a lot of such train incidents take place.