देहरादून DEHRADUN (DDN): With cost bearing being seen as a major issue, the talks between railway officials and the forest department on the electrification of railways on the 18 km stretch of Rajaji National Park (RNP) seem to have a nadir.
Manoj Chandran, additional forest secretary told, “The forest department can not permit the electrification of trains inside the RNP without ensuring the safety measures. So we have clarified to the railways department to undertake fencing, construction of over-bridges, underpasses etc at the designated places. However the railway officials have insisted on the forest department to share the cost of the expenditure for which we have refused. The forest department is already facing shortage of funds for its own proposals. Now it is up to the railway department if they want to go ahead with the electrification or not.”
Hitender Malhotra, deputy regional manager of Northern Railways added that in all the meetings held at the central level, the railways had always asked the forest department to share the expenditure of constructing fencing, over-bridge, under pass or other structures.
Neena Grewal, director, RNP said, “Whatever is the outcome of the proposal, it has to be cleared by the State Wildlife Board. Since the railways throughout the country is being electrified, it will certainly be done in near or distant future in RNP as well. However the safety of the elephants will remain paramount.”
The forest officials, wildlife scientists and lovers have already expressed serious concern about the electrification of the railways in RNP. They fear for the lives of the elephants and other wild animals if the safety measures for electrification are ignored.