NF Railway wins PMI South Asia Award for innovative elephant protection project

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initiative of Northeast Frontier Railway to protect wildlife from encounters with running trains has earned them an award. The Northeast Frontier Railway has received the Project Management Institute (PMI) South Asia Award for Micro Project of the Year with their project “Intrusion detection system for saving lives of elephants”. The award ceremony was held in Chennai on 2nd September 2023.

Many organizations showcase their innovations by participating in the annual award held every year. In 2022, IBM had received the micro project award. This year’s award received by the NFR is the first time ever that zonal railway has bagged this prestigious award. Bharat Electronics Limited received the runners up award this year. The award is bestowed in recognition of the project management community in the region.

The Intrusion Detection System uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect intrusion of elephants on railway tracks and enable smooth operations of train maintaining safety procedures. The AI utilizes existing optical fibres as sensors to detect elephant movements and send alerts to control rooms, station masters, gatekeepers and locomotive pilots. This project has proved to be an environmentally sustainable solution for the problem.

Micro Project, Major Achievements!

.@RailNf marks a historic feat by winning the PMI South Asia Award for the Micro Project of the Year with its entry “Intrusion Detection System for Saving Elephant Lives.”

— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) September 3, 2023

The AI-based IDS software operates on the principle of dialysis scattering phenomena and can detect elephant movement up to 40 km on both sides of the main unit. Besides detecting elephant movements on tracks, the IDS will be able to monitor railway tract fracture, trespassing, unauthorized digging and landslides near railway tracks, etc.

The pilot project on IDS was first implemented by the Northeast Frontier Railway in the Chalsa-Hasimara section of the Dooars area in West Bengal and Lanka-Hawaipur section of the Lumding division in Assam. After the project turned out to be a successful venture, the N.F Railway is gradually installing the IDS in all elephant corridors of the Northeast region.

A sanction of ₹ 77 crores has been released to the NF Railway for the implementation of the project. The East Coast Railway of the Bhubaneshwar region has also adopted the IDS project to detect elephant intrusion on railway tracks which fall under their area of operation.

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