Experts suggest reduced operation, shifting of tracks after jumbo deaths

They called for thermal imaging cameras with artificial intelligence to send automatic alerts to the control room along the tracks. Wildlife movement should be monitored round the clock in a control room established by both Tamil Nadu and Kerala forest departments at Walayar Railway station, the GIS expert said.
Experts suggest reduced operation, shifting of tracks after jumbo deaths
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Chennai

A Chennai-based Geographic Information System (GIS) expert and an RTI activist, who had taken up a detailed study on the recent elephant deaths along the Coimbatore-Palghat railway line, submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change that the elephants will continue to die if the Railways fail to take up measures like shifting of tracks, decreasing operations, diversion of trains connecting Pollachi and Palghat and operation of wildlife protection control room at Walayar railway station.
The study was done for a better understanding of elephant deaths from Kanjikode to Madukkarai areas by civil engineer Pandiyaraja, who is also an RTI activist, and nature enthusiast Dayanand Krishnan. 
It revealed that the elephants have become vulnerable to train accidents as 90 percent of railway track (B-line) from Kanjikode railway station to Madukkarai section runs through forests and 60 percent (A-line) between Walayar and Ettimadai stations runs through protected forests.
“The GIS insight has given clarity on why elephants get killed often. The animals, deprived of natural resources, are forced to migrate across railway tracks at more than half a dozen spots,” Krishnan said. 
They requested the National Green Tribunal and Madras High Court to take suo motto actions and shift the night operations of the train from Palghat to Coimbatore via Pollachi during night hours to ensure the safety of elephants.
They called for thermal imaging cameras with artificial intelligence to send automatic alerts to the control room along the tracks. 
Wildlife movement should be monitored round the clock in a control room established by both Tamil Nadu and Kerala forest departments at Walayar Railway station, the GIS expert said.
For a more permanent solution, Railways should consider an elevated corridor along the State Highway to connect Kanjikode and Madukkarai. 
Similarly, a provision for large subway structures for animals will also help reduce the man-animal conflict, Krishnan said quoting his study. “Copies of maps and vulnerable spots prone to accidents were submitted to the MoEF for better understanding,” he added.
“Elephants are flagship species and their dung play’s a massive role in making forests fertile. Restriction of jumbo movement will adversely affect the environment and insect biodiversity,” said conservation scientist Dr A Kumaraguru, adding that the stakeholders extend sympathy when the elephants die but solutions are not put forth.

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