- Union Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw informed that Railway is mulling to implement ‘Plan Bee’ throughout the country to keep away elephants from railway tracks.
- Addressing the media after inspecting passenger amenities at Guwahati Railway Station, Vaishnaw said that ‘Plan Bee’ adopted by the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is a unique method to keep elephants away from railway tracks and as it is a success story, plans are afoot to implement it all over the country to save the precious lives of elephants.
What is Plan Bee?
- The plan installs unique devices along the railway tracks. These devices create the buzzing sounds of swarming bees. Elephants get irritated to the buzzing sounds of bees.
- And try to stay away from the sound. Thus, by creating the buzzing sound, the device keeps the elephants away from the track. The sound produced by the device is audible from a distance of 400 metres.
About the device
- The device was first installed near Kamakhya station in Assam. And today the devices are installed in more than 56 locations.
- These places are under the jurisdiction of the North Frontier Railways. So far, Plan Bee has saved 950 elephants.
- The first such device was installed at the level crossing gate NN-274 between Azara and Kamakhya station under the Rangiya division.
Why such plan
- The desperation to find an “elephant repellent” was triggered by 67 jumbos being knocked down by trains from 2013 to June 2019.
- Most of these cases were reported from Assam and northern West Bengal.
- There are 29 earmarked elephant corridors with the operating zone of NFR spread across the north-eastern states and parts of Bihar and West Bengal.
- Trains are required to slow down at these corridors and adhere to speed specified on signs.
- But elephants have ventured into the path of trains even in non-corridor areas, often leading to accidents resulting in elephant deaths.
- According to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, between 2009 and 2021, more than 186 elephants were killed in train accidents.
- Of these, Assam accounted for the largest number of elephant deaths due to train accidents. It was followed by West Bengal and Odisha.
Other measures to protect Elephant
- The vegetation along the tracks are cleared frequently. This provides a better view to the loco pilot (the train driver). Signage boards are used to alert the loco pilot about the elephant zones.
- The Railways create overpass and underpass for the safe passage of elephants. The loco pilots have been instructed to reduce the train speed in vulnerable stretches between sunset and sunrise.
- Eco – Bridge solution to prevent elephant deaths by train accidents
- The eco bridges are natural corridors. They are links in habitat that connect two larger wildlife zones. They are usually constructed in elephant corridors.
- Sometimes, the road and railway construction through the elephant corridor obstructs the movement of elephants from one habitat to the other. In such cases, a natural link over or under the road and railway track will help them cross the corridor.
Consider the following statements:
1. There are three subspecies of Asian elephants which are the Indian, Sumatran and Sri Lankan.
2. There are two subspecies of African elephants, the Savanna or bush elephant and the forest elephant.
Which of the above statement is/are correct?
a) only 1
b) only 2
c) Both 1 and 2
d) None of the above.