Suryakant Jena

The death of three elephants in a tragic train mishap in Keonjhar this year in May has prompted the Odisha government to come up with concrete measures to protect the jumbos.

The Forest department of the state has now opted for hanging solar fence at vulnerable points like elephant movement areas near railway tracks to keep wild pachyderms at bay .

For the first time in Odisha, such a facility has been installed in Keojhar, Joda area.

On the last date of Wildlife Week, Keonjhar DFO Dhanraj Hanuman and Joda Block chairman inaugurated the 750-metre-long hanging solar fence over railway track between Krech hutting and Behera hutting.

Coming to the technical aspect of the project, the fence reportedly will have a total of 10000 volt of electric current. This will help keep away elephants and other animals from venturing across the railway track through the region.

Wild animals coming in contact with the solar fence will suffer power shock for around 3 milliseconds. However, it will not be fatal.

What say experts

It is not just solar but hanging solar fence which has been installed in Odisha probably for the first time. There will be three milli-second pulses and not current in the wires. Once coming in contact with the fence, elephants will receive a shock and not try to cross the rail track after one or two attempts. This will reduce accidents to a great extent, said Keonjhar DFO Dhanraj Hanuman.

Similarly, Joda Block Chairman said, "In many elephant movement zones, efforts of digging trenches near rail tracks to discourage jumbos from venturing across the line has not yielded most fruitful results. It has therefore necessitated the use of solar fencing to prevent deaths of elephants and also ensure safety of humans."

What is solar fencing?

A solar fence is a perimeter intrusion detection system that is run by the sun’s energy. This system works like an electric fence which delivers a brief yet strong shock when humans or other wild animals come in contact with the fence. The shock ensures a deterrent effect while ensuring no loss of life.

How does it work?

A solar module generates direct current from sunlight and uses it to charge the system’s battery. The output of the charged battery reaches the controller which when powered produces sharp pulses of nearly 10000 volts that are sharp and short-lived. These pulses pass through the wires of the fence each of them lasting for nearly 3 milliseconds. Any one who intrudes in the area and comes in contact with the solar fence gets a powerful yet non-fatal shock.