Odisha’s first animal overpass to come up in Kapilash

The 100-metre-long pathway for wildlife will be one of the two railway overpasses in the country, the second one being planned in Jharkhand.

Published: 20th April 2022 07:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th April 2022 07:12 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:  Odisha will soon have its first animal overpass on a railway track at Kapilash Wildlife Sanctuary in Dhenkanal to ensure safe passage for wild animals and protect them from train accidents, which are a major cause of elephant deaths in the State.

The 100-metre-long pathway for wildlife will be one of the two railway overpasses in the country, the second one being planned in Jharkhand. It has received the go-ahead from the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL).

Forest officials said a survey for preparation of its structural design has already been started by the railway officials in the sanctuary and the project may take two years to be completed. The overpass will be constructed in compartment 1 of the Kapilash sanctuary to connect it with the larger surrounding landscape including the eco-sensitive zone of the sanctuary, Patapuri and Godabolu reserve forests, and Athagarh forest division.

The exact location of the overpass will be decided jointly by DFO Dhenkanal and East Coast Railway (ECoR) authorities considering the terrain features and facilitation of safe passage for wildlife movement, especially elephants.

PCCF (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden Shashi Paul said the proposal for the overpass was placed before NBWL last year during the railway’s move to lay two more rail lines near the existing two, in the sanctuary. 

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, which had then studied the traffic load and feasibility of the project, recommended an overpass of 100-metre-length with minimum two metre deep thick soil to provide an animal passage structure over the railway track. The NBWL gave its green signal to the project and asked authorities to ensure approval of the structural design from the Chief Wildlife Warden. The WII has recommended that the railway tracks on either side of the overpass to the span of 1.5 km be barricaded to ensure elephants and other wildlife use the structure regularly.

Dhenkanal DFO Prakash Chand Gogineni said they have proposed ECoR authorities to design the structure in such a way that it could support a load of 15 to 20 elephants at a time. He added that the overpass is highly needed for the sanctuary due to frequent movement of elephants through the tracks. An elephant had also succumbed to train mishap in the sanctuary in 2012.


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