Bhubaneswar: Taking note of the death of wild elephants due to electrocution and rail mishap in Odisha, the state Forest and Environment Department had a high-level coordination committee meeting at the Prakruti Bhawan here on Wednesday to discuss measures to be taken in this regard.
The meeting was presided over by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) Hari Shankar Upadhyay. Among others, senior officials of the Energy Department and the Railways were present at the meeting.
Talking to the media after the meeting, the PCCF said it was decided that the Forest Department will impart training to Railway officials. “The Railway officials were told to take steps to remove small trees near the railway tracks and not to throw leftover food along the tracks,” he added.
Taking note that most cases of elephant deaths take place in Dhenkanal and Sambalpur Forest Divisions, the Railway officials proposed to the Forest Department to sanction money for the construction of an underpass along the elephant corridors in these two districts. The Railways will begin the construction of these underpasses after the money is sanctioned by the Forest Department, they said.
On the suggestions of the Forest Department to limit the speed of the trains passing through the 47-km long elephant corridor in Dhenkanal district, the Railway officials said that passengers are affected due to slow movement of the trains.
The meeting revealed that the Energy Department is yet to raise the height of the extra high tension (EHT) wire in about 40 per cent forest areas, especially in the elephant corridors despite the directive of the Chief Minister to complete the process by December 2018. The PCCF directed the department to expedite the work at the earliest.
In the last eight years, 89 elephants have died due to electrocution while 24 elephants have died in train mishaps.