Ka­tol-Wardha rly line to cut through Bor tiger re­serve in Ma­ha­rash­tra

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - Vi­jay.Pin­jarkar @times­group.com

Nagpur: Even as protests against up­grade of the rail­way line through Mel­ghat Tiger Re­serve (MTR) are yet to die down, the Cen­tral Rail­way (CR) has ap­proved a pro­posal for a new 77km line be­tween Ka­tol and Wardha. If con­structed with­out any mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures, the line will cut Bor Tiger Re­serve into two parts.

With 139sqkm core area, Bor is the coun­try’s small­est tiger re­serve with pres­ence of seven tigers and over 200 bird species, and hun­dreds of her­bi­vores. The tiger re­serve’s buf­fer comes to 670sqkm and the rail­way line, if al­lowed with­out any mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures, would spell doom for wildlife and ecol­ogy, and shat­ter source pop­u­la­tion of big cats.

The cor­ri­dors con­nect­ing Bor to other forests have al­ready been cut by four-lan­ing of roads in cor­ri­dor patches of Bazargaon-Kond­hali-Tale­gaon (NH6), Nagpur-Chan­dra­pur (NH7) and Buti­bori-Wardha and Hingni-Selu high­ways.

“Now, Nagpur-Mumbai Sam­rud­dhi Ex­press­way is in the pipe­line, where MSRDC has shown com­mit­ment for wildlife mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures while oth­ers (agen­cies) are bla­tantly vi­o­lat­ing guide­lines. The new line will iso­late tigers and wildlife,” said Bor of­fi­cials.

As the plan has been pre­pared by the head­quar­ters, there is no in­for­ma­tion whether wildlife mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures have been in­cluded in the project. Nagpur DRM Somesh Ku­mar was not avail­able for com­ments. Chief pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer Sunil Udasi could not come up with an im­me­di­ate re­sponse on the is­sue.

The rail dis­tance be­tween Ka­tol and Wardha is 139km. If the 77km new line is laid, the rail­ways will save on time and money for 62km and there will be faster train move­ment.

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