In the wake of the elephant-train collision along the Northern and Eastern railway lines, a team of 14 officials of the Railway Department and the Wildlife Conservation appointed for preventing elephant-train collisions had come up with five recommendations to prevent the disaster.
The team had engaged in the observation of elephant transit points along the Northern and Eastern railway lines from Mahawa Railway station, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, Thalaimannar and Kankasanthurai from October 11-14.
The team was appointed on the instruction of the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva to observe elephant transit points along the Northern and Eastern railway lines and to make recommendations in preventing elephant-train collisions.
The ministry said around 12 elephants have died within a short period due to elephant-train collisions.
The observation team to submit five recommendations to the Minister based comprehensive plan which had been formulated by a committee of intellectuals and academics to resolve this issue.
The final committee report, plan and financial estimate for the implementation of recommendations would be handed over to the Minister by October 25.
The five recommendations are: clearing of shrubs in an area up to 30 metres on either side of the railway track, enforcing train speed limits, building paths (overpasses and underpasses) for elephant crossings on multiple locations, removal of obstructions in elephant crossings at locations with bridges and building of electric fences at places where elephants enter.
The observation team comprised R.A. Sumanaweera, Director, Elephant Conservation of the Wildlife Department, Suranga Jayawardana, Officer in charge of Engine Drivers, Department of Railways, Chaminda Perera, District Transport Inspector, Department of Railways and Irosh Perera, Project Director, Elephant Collisions, Department of Railways.(Darshana Sanjeewa)