GUWAHATI, June 1 - State Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya on Saturday admitted that the proposed railway track through Deepor Beel will affect the elephant corridor, and assured that the government will discuss it with the Railways and explore an alternative plan.
The minister held a meeting on Saturday with indigenous groups as well as locals of Deepor Beel area in an attempt to strengthen the initiatives for conservation and restoration of the natural hotspot with their support.
“It was a very important and positive meeting. I, on behalf of the government, assured them of possible support for paving the way for all-round conservation of the Beel,” Suklabaidya said.
He said that the proposed railway track through the Beel would further hamper the elephant corridor and hence the Forest department will chalk out an alternative plan through discussions with the Railways to ensure a “two-sided benefit”.
The Minister said that the government had recently constituted a new committee for the conservation of the Ramsar site and it has pledged to work with full enthusiasm to ensure that no harm or damage is done to the existing resources of the Beel.
The local representatives, meanwhile, claimed that around 20 trains ply on the existing track daily and they often violate the speed limit while crossing the section. Since the first railway line was laid through the Beel in 1992, at least 14 elephants and many other wild animals have been killed on the tracks, they claimed.