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Thread: Centre, state agree to declare 164-km rly stretch as ‘elephant corridor

  1. #1
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    Default Centre, state agree to declare 164-km rly stretch as ‘elephant corridor

    Centre, state agree to declare 164-km rly stretch as ‘elephant corridor

    Express News Service
    Posted: Sun Sep 26 2010, 04:50 hrs
    Kolkata:

    The Railways and the Wildlife officials of both the West Bengal government and Centre today unanimously agreed to declare the entire 164-km stretch between Siliguri and Alipurdiar on the North East Frontier Railway as an “elephant corridor” and put a speed restriction of 45 kmph on all the trains - day and night.

    Both the sides formulated and agreed on a number of other steps to prevent recurrence of such animal dashing by speeding trains, official sources said.

    On Wednesday night as many as seven elephants were knocked dead by a speeding goods train at Moraghat on this stretch.

    Apparently, the Railway Board, as directed by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, sent an advisory to the railway officials in North Bengal to enforce the speed restrictions and also ensure that the drivers running trains on this stretch are vigilant enough to prevent a recurrence.

    The railway and forest officials met at Gorumara forest bungalow in North Bengal and decided to take the following steps:

    * At least 30 km of the 164 km stretch which has been declared as an elephant corridor was earmarked as “highly sensitive” and frequent animal crossing point.

    * Watch towers would be erected on these stretches which will be manned by forest departmetn staff, particularly in paddy flowering season. Monitoring will be done on movement of elephants from the watch towers with search lights and accordingly the railway staff and officials would be informed. A feasibility study in this regard has already been conducted by the railways and the estimates pegged at Rs 7.3 crore. The union forest and environment ministry will be the implementing agency for this.

    * The railway officials agreed to sensitise the drivers and assistant drivers running goods and passenger trains on this stretch and decided to hold training programme for them at regular intervals where forest department officials would intimate them about wildlife movement patterns. The railway also suggested to the forest officials that the railway staff and drivers have sighted wildlives on as many as 158 occasion in this stretch in the recent past and the forest department should make use of this databank for analyzing the animal and elephant movement pattern in the region.

    * It was also agreed upon to have several underpasses, particularly at corridors to allow wild animals, particularly elephants to take cover when any train arrives or intrudes suddenly.

    * The forest department agreed to use elephant trackers to monitor the movement of elephants and provide round the clock feed back on herd movement to the railways. To facilitate this, the forest department agreed to post a forester in the railway control room at New Jalpaiguri junction or Alipurduar.

    However, the forest officials reportedly expressed reservations about provision of funds to enforce all the steps agreed upon, it was learnt.
    Source article : http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Ce...rridor/688165/
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

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    It is good that an announcement has been made, however, I am not sure whether the modalities have been worked out thoroughly. I would like to see the details. Even 45kmph is a high speed and would be difficult to brake immediately when the driver sees an elephant nearby. This would be a cause of worry when the train is taking a sharp turn in a bend. It would be good if alternate alignments can be constructed, so that our trains avoid passing through wildlife habitats.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

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    Default Rail Vs Road

    Why cant they stop train traffic at night like the way they stop traffic on highways thro' National parks?

    If a train running at 45 KMPH is okay, then why can't cars, buses and trucks be allowed to operate at 45 KMPH even at nights (may be 30 KMPH).

    I have always said that speed is the culprit and shutting down traffic is not the solution. We have to find ways of enforcing speed limits.

    We cant have double standards. One for the road and one for the rail.

    I dont understand why our NGOs don't go behind Rail traffic thro critical wildlife habitats. May be it is not "lucrative" enough. They seem to pick up soft targets and cut the movement of poor villagers and deprve them of their livelihood.

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    Trains passing through wildlife habitat is big threat. Any rail route proposal passing through sanctuaries should be shelved. Quite fortunately some proposals to lay tracks through forests have been revoked recently. Across India many battles have been faught to keep away tracks from wildlife areas. A few were won. Sathy-Chamrajnagar rail route proposal is one example.

    The argument that night traffic should be restored in areas where they have been forbidden for the welfare of wildlife, just because rail traffic is not curtailed is not justifiable. Our people are not considerate enough towards wildlife to respect speed limits no matter whatever speed control measures we try to implement.

    Roads in Bandipur or Mudumalai are not just another road. If a vehicle hits a pregnant tigress during night, it will be huge loss.

    It is obvious that we need to look at welfare of poor people. Firstly who are affected and to what extent due to night traffic ban is the data which is really required. Based on that data alternative arrangements can definitely be made. Without quantifiable data we cannot know if poor people are really affected due to the ban.

    Forest roads in the night should only be used for patrolling and emergency cases can be permitted.

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