Wildlife board clears road stretch through tiger corridor
New Delhi: In a move that is likely to see opposition from wildlife conservationists, the National Board for Wildlife ( NBWL) has cleared widening of a 14km stretch of state highway in Chhattisgarh that will cut through 20 hectares of the Bhoramdeo wildlife sanctuary, which also happens to be an integral part of the KanhaAchanakmar tiger corridor. The road will pass through the Chilphi- Rengakhar- Salhewara stretch. The road widening proposal was earlier referred to the National Tiger Conservation Authority ( NTCA) as per Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 to seek their comments on the project’s impact.
NTCA, in consultation with the Wildlife Institute of India ( WII) and state officials had opposed the road widening and had in fact recommended to the ministry that the proposal should be rejected. But, during the NBWL’s last meeting, the Chief Wildlife Warden, Chhattisgarh said that the road widening and upgradation is important in view of left wing extremism and rural connectivity. According to the minutes of the meeting, WII director VB Mathur said that the widening will increase traffic, leading to adverse impacts on tiger and dispersal of other wildlife. It was also pointed out that the National Highway 12A runs parallel to the proposed road beyond the Bhoramdeo sanctuary.
Despite the opposition from NTCA, the NBWL decided that that proposal should be cleared, subject to mitigation measures, which primarily includes building of under passes for movement of wildlife.
The wildlife officials from Chattisgarh cited the precedence of the National Highway- 7 case, which, too, was cleared by NBWL.