An ambitious railway fence project aimed at preventing wild elephants from becoming victims of speeding in the Kanjikode-Walayar forest belt is in limbo because of the Ministry of Railways' refusal to share the expenses.
Given the non-cooperation of the Ministry, the State Forestry Department decided last week to place the project of an amount of 8 billion rand in a cold store. The ministry is requesting at least half the cost of the project from the ministry, which manages many trains on the stretch between Palakkad and Coimbatore railway stations.
In summer, elephants plow the tracks in search of water. In the absence of fences, elephants also attack crops on neighboring farms, thus provoking the wrath of farmers.
The Forest Department drafted the fence about two years ago for the six-kilometer forest area between Kanjikode and Walayar. The attempt was aimed at a joint and punctual implementation of the project with the participation of the railways.
According to railway figures, 26 elephants have been killed on the stretch in the last 16 years. According to experts, rail fences are more economical and environmentally friendly than trenches, solar fences and anti-elephant walls.
It is estimated that a one kilometer fence will cost 61.17 lakh crowns, while the rails will cost 58.37 lakh. Even preventing elephants from crossing tracks will not hinder the movement of non-target species. The plan included a fence between Velanchery and Attupathy on the forest section.
Although such a project was the first to move pachyderms away from a congested rail corridor, the idea has been successfully applied to Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka in recent years to alleviate human conflict. elephants.
According to the project proposal, fences made of discarded rails will prevent elephants from entering the tracks.
In Nagarhole, railway fences were erected for 33 km and will soon be replicated in the forest areas of Bandipur, Madikeri and Virajpet.
In Kerala, the government has initiated a similar 16-km fence project in the Muthanga and Begur forest in Wayanad for an estimated 25 million crore.