Once the sensors are put to test, Indian Railways is likely to install them along the railway tracks that on which elephants trespass to prevent their deaths. This comes after the 'Plan Bee' model in Northeast, UP and Uttarakhand.
Indian Railways looks to save elephants: Within months of launching ‘Plan Bee’ model in Northeast, Assam and recently in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Indian Railways is now looking forward to introducing a sensor built by a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-Delhi) to prevent elephant deaths on railway tracks. Once the sensors are put to test and if everything goes according to the plan, the national transporter is likely to install them along the railway tracks that on which elephants trespass to prevent their deaths, according to an IANS report.
Subrat Kar, a professor at the department of electrical engineering at IIT-Delhi, was quoted in the report saying that the sensors are yet to be installed. The device was to be tested in the monsoon season but, since this year’s monsoon season has already passed, they are waiting to test the sensors next year. Kar claimed that the device has been tested but not at the site. Rajaji National Park has been earmarked as the test deployment site. According to the professor, it is an ideal place to conduct experiments as trains attain the requisite speed on that stretch.
The professor said that the sensors will be installed at sensitive spots, and not everywhere. The sensors will detect the animals through body rays, cameras and vibration. The sensor is capable of detecting the movement of elephants from a distance through a number of in-built devices. Once the movement of the elephants is detected, the sensor sends a radio signal to the nearest railway station, which conveys the message to the train driver to either stop or slow down the train. In the locomotive, a box will be kept that will send signals for the driver to stop. If the driver is warned at least three kms before the train reaches the spot where elephants are expected to trespass, brakes will be applied immediately and the train will be stopped, he elaborated.
The various sensors in the device confirm whether the moving animals are elephants and not any other animal such as a tiger, which can cross the railway track without requiring the train to be slowed down, the professor added.
As per Wildlife Protection Society of India data, over the last five years, India lost around 100 elephants in train-related accidents. This year so far, 26 elephants have been registered to have succumbed to such collisions. The most recent incident took place in Keonjhar, Odisha where an elephant was killed after being hit by a goods train.
To prevent elephant deaths on tracks, Indian Railways recently started using loudspeakers to play the sound of bees to drive elephants away from railway tracks between Haridwar and Dehradun. Earlier this year, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) also used this technique in Guwahati, Assam. As these animals are scared of bees, especially of being stung on their trunk, they stay away from tracks.