Kaziranga to use apps to track vehicle speed

GUWAHATI: (KNP) will use mobile-based apps to check the speed of vehicles passing along NH-37 to avoid animal casualties during high floods.
KNP officials said the National Informatics Centre in Golaghat has developed mobile-based apps which will do away with the manual process of maintaining when animals leaving flooded Kaziranga for highlands during floods cross the highway in Karbi Anglong. They said the apps will be put on trial before the intensity of floods increases.

During high floods, when the frequency of animal migration increases, KNP imposes a speed limit of 40 km/hr on vehicles plying on the 60-km stretch of the highway that passes along the southern boundary of the park. Many animals, mostly deer species, die in collision with speeding vehicles while crossing the highway.

“We have decided to go digital for monitoring vehicle speed as it is more efficient than the manual process. As less manpower is required for the purpose, this will help us in engaging more personnel in animal rescue and anti-poaching operations during floods,” Kaziranga divisional forest officer Rohini Ballav Saikia. Located on the Brahmaputra plains, Kaziranga is hit by high floods every monsoon, triggering largescale migration of animals from the park to the highlands of Karbi Anglong.

The speed restriction will be applicable from the Amguri point to Panbari point, covering a distance of 60 km. At each point, the details and the time of the arrival of a vehicle will be entered into the mobile phone of forest officials and then relayed to four other centres along the highway. The time taken by the vehicle to cover the 60-km istance can be monitored from the other point.

Like last year, this time, too, KNP authorities have decided to slap a fine of Rs 5,000 for violating the prescribed speed limit once the restriction comes into force. Though Kaziranga is yet to be hit by floods this year, Saikia said the park management has readied measures for dealing with the problem. While additional forest staff from different divisions have already been deployed to assist Kaziranga officials, police will also help in anti-poaching and crowd control measures when movement of animals outside the park increases.

“This time, we are making a special appeal to residents of fringe villages of Kaziranga to keep a check on their pet dogs. In the past, we have seen many animals, especially deer, getting killed after being chased by dogs,” said Saikia.

Located on the flood plains of the Brahmaputra, the deluge in Kaziranga is both a boon and bane for the 830 sqkm protected area. The floods not only help in maintaining Kaziranga‘s ecology but also causes animal deaths. Last year, nearly 400 animals perished in the floods in Kaziranga. Most animal deaths were due to drowning.

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