Vikash Sharma

Expressing concern over the death of elephants on rail tracks, Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that plans are afoot for concrete measures to protect the jumbos and other wild animals.

During his visit to Odisha capital Bhubaneswar, Vaishnaw on Saturday said that, “Wherever there are movement of wild animals, we will increase the height of the railway tracks so that there is enough space in the underpass for the elephants and other animals to pass.”

According to Vaishnaw, already a decision in this regard has been taken and soon a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Railway Board and the Ministry of Environment and Forest will be signed.

The Railway Minister’s comments came in response to media queries on rise in the number of elephant deaths due to mishaps on railway tracks. Recently, three elephants were killed after being hit by a goods train in Keonjhar district.

Apart from elevating the railway tracks, the Indian Railways is also exploring eight other important solutions to curb elephant deaths on tracks. One of the proposals being laying of sensor cables alongside the tracks and the matter is also being discussed with the State forest department here, the Minister said.

While attending an event in the city, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said Indian Railways needed to adopt technology with an open mind and set the bar high to meet expectations.