Hassan: Alarmed by a goods train running over two male elephant calves between the Sakleshpur and Subramanya stations in the Western Ghats a few weeks ago, forest officials of Hassan have now appealed to the South Western Railway to take steps to ensure the safety of wildlife along the 22-km railway track from Sakleshpur to Gundia.
They have called for installation of surveillance cameras at railway signals, introducing speed restrictions for trains, and barricades near tunnels and under- bridges.
The forest officials have reason to be concerned as in April 2016, four spotted deer too were run over by a train in Sakleshpur and an elephant crossing the tracks had a close call about a year ago.
When contacted, Chief Conservator of Forests, AK Singh explained that installation of surveillance cameras at railway signals would cover a distance of about half-a-kilometre and take pictures of animals in the vicinity. “This will come in handy to study the movements of wild animals as well," he said. The officer believes trains should move at a slower pace in the ghats to help the drivers have a better view of animals crossing the tracks.
“It was also suggested that the trains travelling in the ghats should have high beam lights to see animals in the dark and avoid accidents,” he added. While many at the meeting held to discuss the matter favoured stronger honking by trains, Mr Singh was averse to the idea saying it would only end up agitating wild animals. Meanwhile, the First Information Report (FIR) against the pilot and co-pilot of the locomotive engine, which knocked down two elephant calves on tracks in the city , has been registered at the Sakleshpur Court.