Corridors - give it a read.
NAGPUR: In a bid to mitigate damage to wildlife and to the corridor for four-laning of national highway number six in 80 km patch in Bhandaraand Gondia divisions, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has been recommended construction of eight underpasses.
The recommendation comes from two consultantsâ€”RN Indurkar, former chief conservator of forests (CCF) for wildlife, and SS Deshpande, ex-assistant conservator of forests (ACF). The experts submitted their report to NHAI project director NY Wadetwar on Tuesday.
The NHAI is implementing the four-lane project stretching from Chhattisgarh border to Wainganga Bridge near Bhandara. Of the total 80 kms project stretch, about 24 km passes through forests. The NHAI had submitted proposal to divert 85 hectare forest land for the project.
The consultant has recommended eight underpasses of 10 feet height and 20 feet width at every two km in the forest patch. Other measures of the mitigation plan include fencing, water conservation works and providing tractor, tanker fitted with pump for Navegaon Park.
As per NHAI estimates, it would cost another Rs 10 crore to implement mitigative measures. This includes Rs 45 lakh for each underpass, Rs 1.20 crore for erection of fencing upto 40 km, Rs 3 lakh towards 10 rescue gates and ramps, Rs 2.10 lakh for 14 cattle guards, Rs 32,000 for each wicket gates and expenses towards sign boards. Additional expense of Rs 35.65 lakh for repair of old water tanks and construction of new has been recommended for the forest department.
The consultants have suggested adoption of water conservation measures and have identified nine places including two compartments (202 and 203) of Navegaon National Park.
Water is important constraint which compels wildlife to move from inside to the fringes where they meet with accidents. In view of this, nine spots have been identified where repairs to dam, desilting of water holes, deepening of tanks construction of nulla bunds have been suggested. These works should be monitored by the forest officials. The report states that this may be perhaps the first project in India focusing to mitigate damage to wildlife.
TOI in January 2009 had first reported how the four-laning will cut the corridor between Nagzira-Navegaon and Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). Based on the report, Wildlife Trust of India(WTI), an NGO working for tiger conservation, had moved centrally empowered committee (CEC) of the supreme court in June 2009.
The WTI objected that widening of the road will break the corridor and stop dispersal of tigers as its falls between nine tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The stretch was later inspected by the CEC members on June 24, 2009. They had also asked CCF (wildlife) Nandkishore to send a report.
Nandkishore in his report sent to CEC on August 17, 2009 had recommended 8-13 underpasses in five stretches viz. Shirpur-Nawatola; Maramjob-Duggipar; Duddipar-Bamhni; Soundad-Sendurwafa; and Mundipar-Sakoli. The NHAI consultants too have suggested 8 underpasses in these patches.
"A copy of the report will be submitted to the forest department and NHAI headquarters at Delhi as it is," Wadetwar told TOI. "As it has been decided that the right of way (ROW) of NH-6 will be 45 metres instead of 60 metres in forest stretches, requirement of land had reduced to 38.32 hectares," he added.
The report admits that at one stretch, the boundary of the Navegoan park is just a km away from the road and comes under the eco-sensitive zone of the park. Hence, special treatment needs to be given in and around these areas.