In a historic moment, Northeast Frontier Railway had bagged the PMI South Asia award for Micro Project of the Year with its entry "Intrusion Detection System for saving elephant lives". N. F. Railway received the award in a ceremony held at Chennai on 2nd September, 2023. This is for the first time ever that any zonal railway under the Ministry of Railways has bagged this award since its inception in 2009. Bharat Electronics Limited or BEL bagged the runners up award. In 2022, the micro project award was bagged by IBM. Many reputed organisations participate in this prestigious annual award every year showcasing their innovations. PMI South Asia Awards Program is being awarded as a recognition for the project management community in the region.
Intrusion Detection System (IDS) is an eco-sustainable solution to protect elephants and improve mobility in train operations. The system is based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and existing optical fibres will be used as sensors to identify movements of wild animals at locations and alert control offices, station masters, gateman and loco pilots. It uses fibre optic based acoustic system working on the principle of dialysis scattering phenomenon to sense the real time presence of elephants on the track. The AI based software can monitor un-usual movements up to 40 km on either side of the main unit (i.e total stretch of 80 km). In addition to it the IDS will also help in detecting rail fracture, trespassing on railway track and alert about disaster mitigation due to unauthorised digging near railway tracks, landslides near tracks etc.
After 100% success of the pilot project on IDS that was undertaken by N.F. Railway in the Chalsa – Hasimara section of the Dooars area under Alipurduar Division in West Bengal and Lanka – Hawaipur section under Lumding Division in Assam, it has now been decided to install the system gradually in all other elephant corridors spread over N.F. Railway for which a sanction of Rs. 77 crores has already been received. It is important to mention here that the pilot project has already been immensely successfully in saving lives of many elephants approaching railway track from being hit by trains. Bhubaneshwar based East Coast Railway (ECoR) has also adopted this successful model for saving elephant over their jurisdiction.