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West Bengal Forest Dept to introduce rubber strips on National Highway to control elephant deaths
By Tarak Sarkar
Siliguri (West Bengal) [India], September 22 (ANI): The West Bengal Forest Department has taken steps to introduce rubber strips on the National Highway, state highway and the Asian Highway in the North Bengal region to control elephant deaths.
The forest department has taken this initiative after a meeting headed by the state forest minister in the presence of representatives from railway, electricity, highway, tea gardens, and other related departments.
Speaking to ANI, Rajib Banerjee, State Forest Minister said, “There are so many elephant corridors on the National Highway. As a result, many incidents are happening on the highway only because of speeding vehicles.”
“So, we requested the NH authority to allow the Forest Department to set up some rubber strips on the roads. So they accepted our proposal and our department has started identifying a few roads and within a few weeks, it will be done. At present, it will be done on two state highways and on two national highways including the Asian Highway,” he added.
Regarding the meeting, Banerjee said, “We will not tolerate any illegal activities. Like railways, we have told them to control their train speed while passing through forest areas. Tea garden authorities were told to remove blade fencing.”
Banerjee said the authorities assured them to take care of all the instructions and follow them to avoid any unwanted incidents with elephants.
According to the last census conducted by the Ministry of Environment forest and climate change with the state forest department in the year 2017, around 500 elephants were there in the North Bengal forest of which a few were critically injured in the past few years and some of them died later. (ANI)