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Train speed gun tested successfully in Assam

Green groups today successfully tested a speed-detection gun on a train passing by a bird sanctuary in Guwahati. Rahul Karmakar reports.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2010 21:07 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times

Green groups on Thursday successfully tested a speed-detection gun on a train passing by a bird sanctuary in Guwahati.

It was demonstrated in the presence of forest officials so that they could start enforcing speed limits on trains to prevent elephants being run over.

People for Ethical Treatment to Animals (PETA) had demanded installation of speed guns at critical animal corridors after seven elephants were killed by speeding trains in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district last month.

Activists of PETA, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and local green group Aaranyak subsequently procured the imported speed gun and tested it on the Goalpara Passenger train as it chugged past the Deepor Beel Bird Sanctuary around 5:30 pm on Wednesday.

Deepor Beel, on the western fringes of Assam capital Guwahati, is a Ramsar Site that underscores its ecological sensitivity.

"The speed guns will address the kind of human errors caused by drivers of trains that kill elephants," said Rathin Barman of WTI on Thursday.

Assam forest officials were satisfied with the accuracy and effectiveness of the speed gun during the day and at night. They also acknowledged it was easy to use.

"This will certainly come in handy in enforcing speed laws and booking erring railway staff," said Divisional Forest Officer Sil Sharma.

"The use of speed guns is essential to ensure prevention of trains mowing down entire elephant families in the future," said PETA-India Director of Veterinary Affairs Manilal Valliyate.

"It's time for the Indian Railways, which ironically has an elephant as its mascot, to join hands with forest officials to ensure the safety of elephants and India's other treasured wildlife by slowing down trains as an immediate first measure."

First Published: Oct 07, 2010 21:05 IST