The Supreme Court on 23 January 2014 asked the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Ministry of Railways to evolve steps to prevent death of elephants on rail tracks.
The SC bench of Justice Radhakrishnan and Justice Vikramjit Sen asked both the ministries to study the measures adopted last year by Karnataka government that helped in minimising the casualty of tuskers.
The apex court also turned down the plea of the Ministry of Railways to modify its order of 10 December 2013. In its December 2013 order SC had asked the Ministry of Railways
The Ministry of Railways had sought modification of court's direction to divert fast-moving and night trains on Siliguri- Falakata section and for discontinuing the movement of goods trains at night between Siliguri and Alipurduar in West Bengal.
The bench said that the MoEF and Railways will examine all these aspects and submit their detailed suggestions and steps they are going to take so that such untoward incident would not happen in future and wildlife could be protected.
The SC gave its judgement after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Shakti Prasad Nayak. In his PIL he sought direction for taking appropriate steps to prevent killings of elephants hit by fast-moving trains passing through their habitats and also by electrocution. He has also sought the framing of guidelines including strategies to protect elephants from being victims of such incidents.
Karnataka Elephant Task Force Report
The Karnataka Elephant Task Force was headed by Prof. Raman Sukumar which submitted its Report to the Karnataka High Court in September 2012. The main recommendations of the Task Force are
About Project Elephant (PE)
Project Elephant (PE) was launched by the Government of India in the year 1992 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with following objectives:
Under PE, financial and technical support is being provided to major elephant bearing States in the country.
The Project is being mainly implemented in 13 States / UTs, viz. Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Small support is also being given to Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.
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