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Action Plan For Pachyderms

State Government will formulate an Action Plan to go for next level of technology to strengthen power line system in the Elephant Corridors so that this preventive step will help in minimizing cases of electrocution of pachyderms in the State.


Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi chaired a high level meeting on 3 November, in which issues were discussed in a threadbare manner and decided to take up the matter on ‘War Footing’ basis.

Where ever there are sagging lines, those will be rectified on ‘War Footing’ basis and Action Plan will be drawn up for adopting higher level of technology for strengthening of the Elephant Protection System.

While at present PSC Poles are used for electrical lines in Elephant Corridors and pachyderms are damaging the poles, while rubbing their bodies on the poles. However steel poles can save the situation, feel experts.

Among other steps, Cabling of Power lines, utilization of High Powered Steel Poles and few other technological up-gradation for improving electrical infrastructure have been suggested by experts.
 
Now it is seen that the elephants are not only moving in ‘Elephant Corridors’ but also there are several ‘Movement Areas’, where the pachyderms are having their activities.
 
So there will be power line improvement both in Elephant Corridors and Elephant Movement Areas by adopting high-tech method as conventional method is not proving much beneficial, officials say.
 
There will be Joint Verifications of these areas by both officials of the Departments Forest and Energy on regular basis to see any sagging power lines or any weakness of electrical system exists.
 
Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan, ACS Forest & Environment Suresh Chandra Mahapatra, Secretary Energy Hemant Sharma, PCCF Wildlife Sandeep Tripathy, CESU CEO Md. Sadiq Alam, CEOs of SOUTHCO, WESCO and NESCO and other senior officers attended the meeting.

Recent death of seven elephants due to electrocution has caused worry for the State Government as after several steps taken by the authorities to prevent electrocution, cases of deaths due to electrocution are reported in the State.

Elephants in Odisha have been electrocuted either unwittingly due to sagging overhead lines and electrified fences or by poachers who have set up live wire poaching traps.

Strengthening of electrical infrastructure is going on since 2013-14 in major Elephant Corridors in phases.

In 2013-14, CESU took up the job in four Elephant Corridors of Telkoi-Palalahara, Kanheijena_Anantapur, Nuagaon-Barunei and Maulabhanaja-Jiridimali in District of Angul.

While this was done in First Phase, in Second Phase 117 locations of the Angul District was taken up in 2016.

In the Third Phase 2278 locations in Districts of Angul, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Keonjhar and Nayagarh electrical infrastructure development was taken up.
 
In the Fourth Phase 914 locations were planned to be covered and now it is being taken up on a priority basis, officials said.

Cabling of Transmission Lines will be taken up and in both Elephant Corridors and Elephant Movement Zones, said sources.
 
As it has been decided to go for next level of technology for improving the electrical infrastructure, Action Plan will be chalked out on a priority basis, said sources.
 
However experts say that as blame game is going on over pachyderm deaths it will delay the process.

So there should not be any blame game but it should be a ‘Joint Effort’ by both Forest and Energy Sector to save the innocent wild lives, which the meeting decided for a Joint Action in this regard, official sources said.

In the meantime, Crime Branch has started the investigation and has arrested three persons, while a Junior Engineer of CESU, who was dismissed from service, is absconding.
 
 


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