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News Entry# 288616
  
Dec 14 2016 (15:47)  Rail fencing: expert committee visits Walayar stretch (www.thehindu.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestSR/Southern  -  

News Entry# 288616     
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Posted by: rdb*^  127151 news posts
Southern Railway will soon decide on the feasibility of a unique rail fencing project proposed by the State government in a six-km forest area between Kanjikode and Walayar here to avert recurring incidents in which wild elephants fall victims to speeding trains.
An expert committee led by Kerala Forest Research Institute director P.S. Easa and Prof. V. Raju of Mahatma Gandhi University visited the stretch on Monday as part of preparing a detailed report on the practicability of the project. The committee will very soon submit this report to Railways.
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feasibility of the project, Railways will accept Rs.8 crore sanctioned by the State Forest Department for the project. Then, the utility will make the fencing in consultation with forest officials. As per the plan, the fencing will come up between Velanchery and Attupathy in the Kanjikode-Walayar forest stretch.
It was only last month that the Forest Department mooted replication of a rail fencing project implemented successfully at Karnataka’s Nagarhole National Park to mitigate human-elephant conflict. As per the project proposal, fences using discarded rails will prevent the elephants from entering the tracks.
At Nagarhole, rail fences have been erected on a 33-km stretch in the first phase of the project and it will soon be replicated in forest areas of Bandipur, Madikeri and Virajpet. Officials are keen on installing the fences on a war footing in view of the possible casualties in the ensuing hot summer months.
In the last 16 years, 25 wild elephants have been perished in the stretch while crossing the rail track.
Divisional Forest Officer K. Karthikeyan said the department preferred rail fences, as they were more economical and environment-friendly than trenches, solar electric fences, and elephant-proof walls. It was estimated that a km-long fence costs Rs.61.17 lakh, with the rails priced at Rs.58.37 lakh. The fences were ecologically sustainable, as they did not hamper the movement of the non-targeted species, he said.
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