WITH THE Railways and the Forest Department stuck in a deadlock, wildlife activists and local residents have decided to take up the issue of speeding trains mowing down animals inside the Dudhwa National Park.
As part of a campaign, NGO-Terai Nature Conservation Society has decided to hold a World Wide Fund for Nature-sponsored workshop to educate the Railways about the ‘bloody’ tracks.
The 36-km stretch of railway line passing through the park from Bilraya to Palian has, over the years, accounted for many elephants, tigers, leopards, cheetals and crocodiles, all run over by the fast-moving trains.
The Forest Department has been demanding that speed of trains be reduced from 60 to 15 kilometres per hour inside Dudhwa. Despite numerous letters forwarded to the Union Railway Ministry through the North-Eastern Railways over the last couple of years, no action has been taken so far. Moreover, the Railways have shown reluctance in accepting the demand on the ground that the move may pose a threat to the passengers from miscreants.
The Forest Department has now urged the Union Forest and Environment Ministry to intervene in the matter. Besides, local residents and wildlife activists have been demanding that the railway line be shifted elsewhere.
V P Singh, secretary of the Terai Nature Conservation Society, said that effort would be put in to sensitise the populace living in Dudhwa about the loss to wildlife and environment.
He said that the WWF-funded project was aimed at convincing the Railways that the stretch was no source of earning for the Railways, rather it helped smugglers to flee with forest goods.
Contending that sale of tickets on this stretch was poor; Singh said that the Railways should shift the tracks out of Dudhwa via Nighasan so that flora and fauna was not disturbed.