The Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal has directed the Central Monitoring Committee constituted by the Environment Ministry dealing with elephant accidents taking place on railway track from Kottekad in Kerala and Madukkarai in Tamil Nadu.
The bench has initiated suo moto proceddings on the basis of media report published in the newspaper which said that death of elephants is taking place on a railway track from Kottekad and Madukkarai in Tamil Nadu.
According to the status report filed on behalf of the State of Tamil Nadu, reasons for death is visibility on the track being poor to the loco pilots and topography being unsuitable for the elephants to escape. The remedial action taken is deputing Track watchers/ Anti-depredation watchers, construction of ramps and alerting of the pilots by the watchers. Watch tower has been constructed for the purpose. A percolation pond has been formed for providing water for the animals to minimize the movement. A Whatsapp group has been created of the concerned staff of the Railways and the Forest Department.
A bench comprising of NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice Sudhir Agarwal, Justice M. Sathyanarayanan, Justice Brijesh Sethi & Expert Member Dr. Nagin Nanda noted that,”the Central Monitoring Committee constituted by MoEF&CC dealing with the project ‘Elephant’ needs to look into the issue raised in the media report in coordination with the Railway Authorities, the Wildlife Institute of India and the States of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. A joint meeting needs to be held on the subject by the Central Monitoring Committee of the MoEF&CC with the States of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and the Southern Railways within one month from today to work out the necessary modalities, including the authority which is to incur the necessary expenditure.”
The bench disposed of the application and directed to forward the copy of order to MoEF&CC, States of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the General Manager, Southern Railways and the Wildlife Institute of India by e-mail.