The Coimbatore district’s Madhukkarai and Walayar train tracks will soon have an artificial intelligence system installed by the forest department of Tamil Nadu to reduce elephant deaths from train-related mishaps. The project has been given a budget of Rs 7 crore. The installation of the artificial intelligence system in the industry has already been put out to bid by reputable companies, according to the forest department. September 8 is the deadline for submitting proposals.
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. The Tamil Nadu forest department carried out a detailed survey and study along with Railways, and they have identified a 13 km area of forest land as the 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 center to the track will be the red zone, the next 50 m will be the orange zone, and a 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.
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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 and 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.
With inputs from IANS