Kapilash Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in the Dhenkanal district of Odisha, has railway tracks passing through it, which often leads to the accident of wildlife. To ensure the safe movement of wild animals within the premises, the government has planned to construct the state's first animal overpass on a railway track inside the sanctuary.
It will be one of the two overpasses in India, the second being planned in Jharkhand. The project has received approval from the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL).
Shashi Paul, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) and Chief Wildlife Warden, informed that the proposal was presented to NBWL last year. At the time, the railway planned to lay two more rail lines near the existing two within the sanctuary, as per a report by The New Indian Express.
The 100-metre-long overpass will be constructed in compartment 1 of the sanctuary, connecting it to the larger adjoining landscape, including the eco-sensitive zone Patapuri and Godabolu reserve forests and the Athagarh forest division.
The forest officials informed that the railway officials have already started a survey to prepare its structural design in the sanctuary. It may take two years to be accomplished, reported the publication.
The exact location of the passage has not been decided yet. It will be collaboratively done by Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Dhenkanal and East Coast Railway (ECoR) authorities, viewing the terrain features and facilitation of safe passage for wildlife movement, especially elephants.
Essential Details Of The Overpass
Earlier, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, studied the plan's traffic load and feasibility. They recommended an overpass of 100-metre-length with a minimum of two-metre deep thick soil to provide an animal passage structure over the railway track.
The WII advised that the tracks on either side of the overpass to the span of 1.5-kilometres must be barricaded. This barricading will ensure that the elephants and other wildlife use the structure regularly.
Prakash Chand Gogineni, DFO Dhenkanal, said that they had suggested ECoR authorities design the structure in a certain way that it could support a load of at least 15 to 20 elephants at a time.
The animal overpass within the Kapilash Wildlife Sanctuary is crucial due to the frequent movement of elephants through the tracks. The overpass will secure passage for wild animals and protect them from frequent train mishaps.