GUWAHATI, July 13 - The Indian Railways, in an affidavit submitted to the Eastern Zone (EZ) Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently, said that the process of installing speed radar guns for monitoring the speed of locos on the run in the Deepor Beel stretch of the rail track was going on.
The affidavit was filed by the Railways in connection with a case (original application No.19 of 2014/EZ) filed by RTI and environment activist Rohit Choudhury against the Union government and others.
It needs mention here that train accidents involving elephants on the Deepor Beel stretch of the rail track has become a serious issue and Choudhury has pleaded for the intervention of the NGT in preventing such accidents.
The Railways said in the affidavit that it had imposed a speed restriction of 30 kmph from the existing speed of 50 kmph with effect from March 15, 2019 in the elephant corridor area near Deepor Beel, between Azara and Kamakhya railway stations.
Moreover, in most of the locomotives, there is a system called ‘REMMOLT’ (Remote Monitoring and Management of Locomotive Trains) – a network orienting system connecting micro-processor-based diesel electric locomotives in the field with centralised server-based management through GSM network communication and GPS.
In this system, loco speed can be controlled through the Internet for the interval of 10 minutes, 20 seconds, and a printout can be taken and viewed from anywhere through the Internet over Loconet.
The Secretary (Environment and Forest), Government of Assam, has informed the Railways that they have agreed to the instructions contained in the ‘General Advisories’ jointly issued by the Union ministries of Railways and Environment and Forest, on preventing train accidents involving elephants.
The State government stated that it was ready to bear the cost of construction of a new track on the diverted alignment of the rail track on the Deepor Beel stretch.
Accordingly, the State government has requested the Railways to carry out a joint survey of the land required for laying the new track in the diverted alignment with the Revenue authorities.
The Railways informed the NGT Bench that till the filing of the affidavit, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was silent on the feasibility study report for construction of a tunnel (Alignment-III) on the Deepor Beel stretch of the rail track.
The survey was conducted by the Delhi Integrated Multi Model Transit System Ltd on behalf of Railways, as per the suggestion of the WII itself.