STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Siliguri, 15 November
In order to save the wild elephants, the Northeast Frontier Railway authorities proposed that it would erect fence on either side of the railway track following suggestions from wildlife experts of the forest department.
According to a senior NF railway official, the matter was discussed at a coordination meeting between the railway and forest departmental officials at Alipurduar railway division office last evening.
Top officials of both the departments agreed to step up vigilance and maintain coordination to share information about the movement of elephants round the clock between forest and railway staff.
The railway officials mainly stressed the need of erecting a fence on either side of the railway track following suggestion of the forest department during interaction with the top foresters.
The chief public relations officer, NFR, Mr Sugata Lahiri, said: “In order to save wildlife and reduce the rate of jumbo deaths, the Railways would erect a fence at its own cost following suggestions of the forest department. The matter was discussed at a meeting yesterday.”
“We don’t know about the sensitive areas where elephants move frequently besides the restricted zones to control the speed of trains as precautionary measures following the corridor of wild elephants throughout the Dooars route,” Mr Lahiri said.
“The NFR authorities would build a fence at its own costs to save the life of
elephants by preventing them from crossing the
railway track,” Mr Lahiri also added.
A senior forest official expressed doubt about the proposal and feasibility of the fencing system because mighty jumbos may damage the fence in future if they are prevented from their own path.
Notably, five elephants, including three calves, one sub adult and another pregnant elephant were mowed down by Kabiguri Express train near Jaldhaka Railway Bridge in the Nagrakata police station on 13 November evening.
The condition of another train-hit pregnant elephant is gradually deteriorating after foetus died inside.
According to the divisional forest officer, Mr Bidyut Sarkar, said: “The backbone of the elephant has been damaged. If the jumbo cannot stand up easily, its condition will deteriorate day by day.”
“We are trying to strengthen vigilance along the railway tracks amid the forest zone to save the life of wild elephants,” said Mr Sarkar.