Railways, Forest Department to conduct Joint Patrolling in Rajaji Tiger Reserve

DEHRADUN: After a series of elephant deaths on tracks that pass through Rajaji Tiger Reserve, the state forest department and Indian Railways have decided to jointly patrol the wildlife corridor during the day and night.

Two elephants were killed within a month after they were hit by the New Delhi-Dehradun Nanda Devi Express earlier this year. In June, another elephant died on the tracks after it was hit by a locomotive.

According to the director of Rajaji, Sanatan, four elephants in the past two years have died in rail accidents. The most vulnerable corridor is the 18km stretch from Kansro to Haridwar.

Head of forest force, Uttarakhand, Jai Raj, said, “The railways officials have come forward to cooperate in strengthening the safety and security of wildlife in the sensitive areas of RTR. Speed limit of trains would be limited to 35 km/hr and joint patrolling during the day and night would be carried out.”

Talking to media, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Sharad Srivastava, said, “We are trying to maintain a speed limit of 35 km/hr from past few months. We are taking innovative steps for patrolling in the vulnerable areas of Rajaji. Several plans like giving walkie talkies to the locomotive pilots and forest officials will help them coordinate.”

Jai Raj said that trash from the trains would not be emptied near the reserve as was being done by attendants, food caterers and food contractors. “This would ensure that the forest area remains clean and wild animals are not attracted.”