Northeast Frontier Railway bags PMI South Asia Award

Maligaon: Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has won the PMI South Asia award for Micro Project of the Year with their project titled ‘Intrusion Detection System for saving elephant lives’. This marks the first time that any zonal railway under the Ministry of Railways has received this award since its establishment in 2009.

Meanwhile, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) received the runner-up award. Last year, IBM received the micro project award. Various organisations participate annually in this award programme, which aims to recognise the project management community in the region.

The awards were presented during a ceremony in Chennai on September 2, 2023.

The Intrusion Detection System (IDS) is an environmentally sustainable solution designed to protect elephants and enhance train operations’ safety. This system utilises Artificial Intelligence (AI) and repurposes existing optical fibres as sensors to detect wildlife movements at specific locations, sending alerts to control offices, station masters, gatekeepers, and locomotive pilots.

The system employs a fiber optic-based acoustic system based on the diffraction scattering phenomenon to detect the real-time presence of elephants on the railway track. The AI-powered software can monitor unusual activity within a range of 40 km on both sides of the central unit, covering a total stretch of 80 km. Moreover the IDS can identify rail fractures, trespassing on the railway track, and alert authorities to potential disasters caused by unauthorised digging near railway tracks or landslides in proximity to the tracks.

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Following the successful pilot project on IDS implemented in the Chalsa–Hasimara section of the Dooars area in West Bengal and the Lanka–Hawaipur section under the Lumding Division in Assam, it has been decided to gradually deploy this system across all other elephant corridors managed by NFR. An allocation of Rs. 77 crore has already been granted for this purpose.

The East Coast Railway (ECoR) based in Bhubaneshwar has also adopted this model for protecting elephants within their jurisdiction.

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