Wildlife board clears road stretch through tiger cor­ri­dor

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Nikhil M Ghanekar correspondent@ dnain­dia. net

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.

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