Plan ‘Bee’: How Indian Railways is saving elephants from train accidents by spending just Rs 2,000

By: | Published: September 7, 2018 3:00 PM

To keep elephants at a distance from railway tracks, Indian Railways recently launched "Plan Bee", under which a device has been installed near the railway tracks in Guwahati, Assam that amplifies the buzz of swarming honeybees.

As elephants are afraid of bees, especially of being stung on their sensitive trunk, they stay away from railway tracks. (image: Reuters)

Indian Railways launches “Plan Bee” to save elephants! As speeding trains crashing into elephants has been a serious cause of concern for some time now in the North Eastern part of the nation, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone of the Indian Railways has come up with an interesting solution. To keep elephants at a distance from railway tracks, Indian Railways recently launched “Plan Bee”, under which a device has been installed near the railway tracks in Guwahati, Assam that amplifies the buzz of swarming honeybees. As elephants are afraid of bees, especially of being stung on their sensitive trunk, they stay away from railway tracks.

Through this device, the buzzing sound of bees is audible from a distance of 600 metres. Therefore, elephants present within a distance of 600 metres can easily hear the sound of this device, which prevents them from coming near the hazardous railway tracks and being killed. Another interesting fact is that, these devices costed Indian Railways only Rs 2,000 per device!

According to an HT report, as per the data provided by Indian Railways, 70 elephants have died since 2013 after being hit by trains and also as per NFR as well as the forest department records, 16 elephants have been killed in 2016 and at least a dozen in 2017. In the month of February this year, when a passenger train hit a herd crossing the tracks in the central part of Assam, 4 elephants were killed. Last December, a pregnant female elephant was also killed in a similar situation.

Pranav Jyoti Sharma, the spokesperson for NFR, was quoted in the report saying that to warn train drivers, signboards will be put out at all identified elephant corridors. He also informed that around 90% of the accidents happen between 9 PM and 7 AM. NFR is working closely with the forest department. Also, for sharing information a WhatsApp group has been created. It has been decided that at night, the forest guards will send alerts about the movement of elephants, which will be immediately communicated to train drivers, he added.

Meanwhile, to prevent elephants from being hit, Indian Railways has also imposed speed limit of 30 kmph to 50 kmph in several stretches of railway tracks across Northeast.

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