Elephant movement: NALCO asked to be alert after sundown

Koraput: Aluminium giant Nalco has been advised to remain alert after sundown to elephant movement in its mining areas in Koraput district to avert accidents.

Elephants frequently move in and around Nalco mining area, particularly in the red mud, an industrial waste, and ash ponds which is used for disposal of fly ash of an unit.

"We cannot rule out the possibility of a mishap as the red mud and ash ppoonds are spread over hundreds of acres and fall in the area frequented by elephant," said Koraput district Collector Sachin Jadhav.

The authorities in the Navaratna PSU have been asked to constitute a 10-member patrolling squad to keep a close watch on the movement of elephants in the mining area between 6 pm and 6 am. Nalco has also been asked to dig trenches and build a 4-metre high stone wall around the ponds.

"Nalco has been asked to provide low voltage power fencing or solar fencing around the red mud and ash ponds and to respond to forest officials' alert on movement of elephants," said mining officer (Koraput) S P Nanda.

Guidelines have also been issued to Southco, NHAI and the railways to prevent accidental deaths of jumbos. The railways have been asked to limit the speed of trains plying between Damanjodi and Kakrigumma to 40 kmph, blow horn continuously, put brakes whenever wild animals are spotted on the track and allow forest department to put sign boards at vulnerable points along the track.

Officials said a herd of 12 elephants from Karlapat sanctuary of Kalahandi district are staying put at Kakrigumma, Laxmipur and Damanjodi for the past few years.