Odishs Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 26:
Denying inaction on its part to curb death of elephants caused by train hits and electrocution in the state, the Odisha government has informed the Supreme Court in an affidavit that it will be soon signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF), Bangalore for undertaking follow-up action for conservation, preservation and development of elephant habitats and corridors as per the field requirements.
The state government’s statement came in the form of a counter affidavit in response to a PIL filed in the apex court by wildlife activist Shakti Nayak expressing concern over reports of unabated deaths of elephants across Odisha and India due to train hits and electrocution.
The affidavit said coordination meetings between Forest and Railway authorities at various levels were being held on a regular basis to deal with elephants deaths caused due to train hits.
It said Forest department employees have been stationed in the Central Control Room at the Khurda Road Divisional office of the Railways to pass on information on movement of jumbos. VHF frequencies have been matched between Railways and Forest department staff for exchange of such information.
Similarly, the state government further stated that regular meetings with electricity authorities are being held to take steps to prevent death of elephants due to electrocution.
“Rs 21 crore has been provided to the Energy department during 2013-14 to strengthen the electricity distribution system in areas of movement of elephants,” it mentioned.