The forest department of Tamil Nadu is to set up an artificial intelligence system to prevent elephant deaths due to train related accidents on the tracks between Madhukkarai and Walayar in Coimbatore district.
An amount of Rs 7 crore is sanctioned for the project. The forest department has already floated tenders from reputed agencies to install the artificial intelligence system in the sector. The last date for submitting bids is September 8.
Two railway lines pass through the Madukkarai forest range between Madhukkarai and Walayar. The distance of one stretch is 1.8km and the other is 2.8km.
Both the tracks have several hotspots for elephant crossing, and it is to be noted that 11 wild elephants have died since 2008 due to collisions with speeding trains.
A detailed survey and study was carried out by the Tamil Nadu forest department along with Railways and have identified a 13 km area of forest land most vulnerable. This is based on the frequency of elephant crossing.
The Tamil Nadu forest department and the Ministry of Railways have decided to install an Artificial intelligence system in the area to warn about elephant crossings. According to the department officials, the problem areas would be identified into three zones. The 50 m area from the centre to the track will be red zone, the next 50 m will be orange zone and further 50 m will be the yellow zone.
An acoustic (hooter) alert and a luminous alert would be installed at all sensor towers and in the console room.
If an elephant enters the yellow zone, an alert will be generated in the console room and the message will be passed to the forest watchers. Message and alerts will be sent to forest guards, watchers, forest range officers and railway station master if the elephant crosses the orange zone.
If by any chance the elephant is entering the red zone, alerts will be sent to the district forest officials, divisional engineers of railways, who will intimate the loco pilot. Details of the elephant and its distance from the track will be intimated to the loco pilot much in advance.
A senior officer of the forest department told IANS that after the tender is awarded, work will commence within two months.