Railways 'plan bee' bags award

The award carries a citation and cash of Rs 3 lakh

The honey bee sound system installed near a railway level crossing in Assam. Photo credit/ Northeast Frontier Railways.

The amplified version of honey bees sound used by the Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) to ward off elephants from tracks, thereby preventing any mishap deaths has won Indian Railways' best innovation of the year award.

The award carries a citation and cash of Rs 3 lakh.

Since 2013, at least 67 elephants died in train hits in Assam while they were crossing the tracks under the NFR, which covers north Bengal, parts of eastern Bihar and the Northeast. The NFR was having tough time to tackle the problem, mainly in Assam, having 29 elephant corridors and the tracks passing through forests.
 
"Desperate to find a solution, Ravilesh Kumar, the then divisional railway manager of Rangiya railway division took the lead and formed a team, which carried out the first testing of honey bee buzz on a pet elephant at Rangapara. When the second testing was conducted in Phulbari Tea Estate under Rangiya division, it was found that the wild elephant started moving away once the honey bee sound was generated," said a statement issued by Pranav Jyoti Sharma, chief public relations officer of NFR.
 
"Following the successful trial, equipment was designed to generate amplified sound of honey bee audible from a distance of about 700 to 800 meters. The first instrument was installed at a level crossing gate between Azara and Kamakhya station under Rangiya division. There are 46 such equipment installed all over NFR at present," he said.
 
"The gatemen posted in level crossing gates, where the device has been installed claimed that its use is very helpful in diverting herds of elephants, especially when trains are approaching and dashing become almost eminent," it added.

Sharma claimed that its efforts including speed limit and use of the honey bee sound helped NFR save as many as 1,014 elephants since 2014.

A forum of wildlife conservationist groups recently said that at least 80 elephants die every year in human-elephant conflicts in the country with 655 deaths reported between 2009 and 2017, including 120 by trains.

 
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