A little over a month after a female elephant was run over by a train in Madukkarai, the railways and forest department officials inspected a stretch of railway track which runs through the forests in the border area. They tried coming up with ways and ideas to avoid animal deaths due to train accidents on Monday during the inspections.
Joint cooperation in terms of construction of slopes on both sides of the track, setting up watch towers and cameras to track elephant movements were a few ideas discussed.
On June 20, a female elephant trying to escape with a herd of five other elephants from Ettimadai was run over by a train. A huge controversy regarding overspeeding of trains had come up due to the incident. On Tuesday, a representative from the Palakkad division, district forest officer A Periyasamy and a ranger inspected a 3km stretch of track which runs through the Reserve Forest between Wadayar and Modamathi. “We have decided to create an even slope on both sides of the track, so that the elephant can easily get off the track without hurting their legs or slipping,” said a forest officials. “Usually elephants and animals hesitate to move when they don’t have a clear footing,” he said.
Railway officials have also decided to set up watch towers which will be manned by forest rangers and anti-poaching watchers. Additionally, CCTV cameras will also be placed within the forest to capture elephant movements. ” Basically, when an elephant starts moving around close to the track and there is a risk of it crossing, we will inform the closest station masters who will inform the loco pilot, so he slows down,” said the forest officials. They had discussed the possibility of trains slowing down but the railways said train speeds was a national policy decision.
“Slowing down of trains is nationally decided and cant be done locally. Will throw movement of other trains also out of gear,” said the Palakkad DRM during a pre inspection meeting on Sunday.