Bhubaneswar: Even though the government has taken a slew of measures to arrest elephant deaths due to electrocution and train mishaps, it was found that not much progress has been made on these fronts.
This was revealed at a review meeting of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) with electricity distribution companies (discoms) and the railways held here Wednesday.
“The discoms were supposed to complete cabling and rectification of sagging wires at several places by December 2018. However, only 30-40 per cent of the work has been completed till date,” said HS Upadhyay, PCCF (Wildlife) while briefing reporters after the meetings.
“During discussions with discom officials we came to know that these works (targets) will be completed by June or by December next year,” he added.
The PCCF (Wildlife) said that the discom officers ascribed the slow progress to constraints in availability of funds and large-scale damage caused by Cyclone Fani.
Similarly, the Railways has complained that restriction on speed of trains on long stretches was causing delay in 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 officers and railways through VHF,” Upadhyay said.
“We discussed about safe train operation at the meeting – an operation to ensure that no elephant is killed or injured. Restricting train speed in sections where elephants cross railway tracks result in late running of passenger and goods trains which affect the economy at large,” said S Kapil, Chief Passenger Transportation Manager.
In order to check jumbo deaths in train mishaps, Kapil suggested for construction of underpasses for elephants similar to the ones being constructed to do away with level crossings.
He also said the Forest department has to pay the cost of constructing underpasses to the Railways which would undertake the job.