Odisha signs MoU with WTI to save elephants from train hits
Bhubaneswar: In a bid to check growing number of cases of elephants being fatally hit by trains, Odisha government on Friday signed an MoU with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to develop a mitigation plan.
The New Delhi-based WTI would identify and map the critical accident prone sites and habitats of elephants and also identify factors – ecological, physical and man-made- responsible for accidental deaths of elephants.
"WTI will prepare a detailed report on mitigation plan and implement the Rs 9.9 lakh project over a period of 12 months," said Forest and Environment minister Bijayshree Routray after signing the MoU.
Last year, the state has witnessed death of about 13 elephants due to train hits. While seven jumbos were killed due to train accidents in Keonjhar, four in Berhampur of Ganjam district and two in Dhenkanal district.
The state government had held several meetings with the Indian Railway authorities and the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) on the issue. However, there had been no such improvement in the situation.
WTI will simultaneously organise consultations/ meetings/workshops with the staff of forest department and other stake holders departments and finalise mitigation plan and jointly implement a few identified shot term mitigation plan like signage along the railway track and awareness of train drivers, the minister said.