As per the data given by the government between 2016-2019, a total of 19 elephants were killed on tracks in 2018-19 while 21 elephants died in 2016-17.
Govt. said the number of elephants killed on railway tracks has shown a declining trend in the last three years.
Responding to a query in the lower house of Parliament, Minister of State for Environment Babul Supriyo said due to the concerted efforts taken by the central and state governments, elephant deaths have reduced.
“Due to concerted efforts taken by the Central and State Governments the elephant deaths by train accidents has been reducing in the recent years. “A number of measures taken by Zonal Railways in coordination with Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change have resulted in saving of elephants,” the minister said in his written response to a question raised in the Lok Sabha.
The minister informed that honey bee sound system, which has the sound of honey bees downloaded from the internet, was being installed by East Central Railway to scare away elephants from coming near the railway tracks.
He said the preventive measures undertaken include imposition of permanent and temporary speed restrictions in identified elephant corridors, sensitization of train crew and station masters on a regular basis, need-based clearance of vegetation on the sides of tracks within railway land and construction of underpasses and ramps for movement of elephants at identified locations.
“Work is in progress at one more location in East Central Railway. Installation of honey bee sound system to scare away the elephants from coming near the track. Provision of fencing at isolated locations both by Railway and Forest Department. “Deputing Forest Department staff in Railway control offices to liaison with Railway and engagement of elephant trackers by Forest Department for timely action by alerting Station Masters and Loco Pilots. Frequent coordination meetings between State Forest Department and Railway department,” the minister said while elaborating on the measures being taken to prevent elephant deaths.
According to the data provided by the ministry, 10 elephants died in train accidents in 2017-18 in Assam while in 2018-19 the state recorded two deaths. In Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, no elephant deaths were recorded in 2018-19.
However, Odisha saw maximum elephant deaths at seven in 2018-19.
The State-wise and year-wise details of elephant deaths due to train hits is as follows:
Elephant Casualties in train accidents from 2016-17 to 2018-19:
Data: Govt.of India.