To prevent elephant deaths through electrocution, forest staff and employees of power distribution company Southco will conduct joint patrolling in Berhampur forest circle in Odisha. The team will immediately rectify any fault or threat. Electricity poles would be shifted and sagging power lines raised if need be. The Southco has been asked to cut power supply to elephant corridors when intimated by the forest officers, officials said.
These measures were discussed at a meeting held in Berhampur recently between the superintendent engineers of the Southco and divisional forest officers of the circle, comprising five revenue districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Boudh and Rayagada, they said. Railway officials of Khurda division held a separate meeting with forest officers on steps to be taken to prevent accidents involving elephants on the tracks.
“We have asked the railway officials to clear the bushes near railway tracks passing through elephant corridors to allow drivers spot the animals clearly. They were also asked to put up sign boards warning the drivers about vulnerable areas”, said Regional Chief Conservator of Forest Jitendra Kumar, who presided over both the meetings.
The 5 km stretch from Humma to Chilika was identified as vulnerable. The forest department went for solar fencing to check the movement of elephants in the area. The forest guards too have been provided VHP sets to inform the nearest railway station or the station master of Khurda Road division about movement of elephants on the tracks, he said. These measures were taken after a speeding train mowed down six elephants at Subalaya in Ganjam district in 2012. Five pachyderms were electrocuted the same year, the sources added.
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