BHUBANESWAR: To protect elephants from accidental electrocution in the State, high tension supply lines will be cabled across the vulnerable zones. In the first phase, `20 crore will be spent on insulated cabling.
Chief Wildlife Warden Dr Sandeep Tripathi, who chaired a coordination meeting with Energy Department, discoms and railway officials, said the cabling will be carried out for 400 km in the first phase which would be completed before monsoon. For each 20 km, `1 crore is required for insulated cabling.
“This will not only save elephants when they come in contact, it also prevents illegal hooking which also leads to electrocution in many areas. The Energy Department and utilities have agreed to go in for the cabling,” Tripathi told this paper.
The first phase would concentrate on vulnerable and conflict areas such as Dhenkanal, Athagarh, Angul, Jharsuguda and Athmallik. In fact, most of the man-elephant conflict zones fall in CESU jurisdiction and electrocution and - deliberate and accidental - are also recorded in these areas.
After this phase is over, the insulated cabling exercise would be taken up for another 1000 to 2000 km length.
This apart, the Energy Department has been asked to instruct the discoms to keep `10 lakh contingency fund. This fund could be used for emergency repairs and renovation work of electricity lines in elephant corridors and passages.
Besides, it has been decided to streamline coordination and communication between the forest field officials and railway authorities in view of the mishaps on the tracks.
Elephant passages, where boards are not installed, would be identified so that fresh signages can be put up. Whatsapp groups would be created for better coordination between the two agencies at the ground level.
Similarly, station masters and forest guards in zones having elephant passages have also been asked to improve their coordination.