ITANAGAR, 9 Feb: In order to minimize the impact of highway development on wildlife, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has issued instructions to implementing agencies to make all efforts to avoid any road alignment through national parks or wildlife sanctuaries, even if it requires taking a longer route or bypass.
“However, if it is absolutely unavoidable, land to be acquired is limited to a maximum right of way of 30m and all necessary clearances required under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, Forest Conversion Act 1980 and Environment (Protection) Act 1986, are obtained before any work is undertaken in such areas,” Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Some stretches or sections in about 100 national highways are falling in or passing through forest areas declared as wildlife sanctuary/national park or its eco sensitive zone (ESZ), according to a ministry release.
He said that some stretches or sections in about 100 national highways are falling in or passing through forest areas declared as wildlife sanctuary/national park or its eco sensitive zone (ESZ).
The ministry has also mandated the implementing agencies to follow the provisions of the manual titled “Eco-Friendly Measures to Mitigate Impacts of Linear Infrastructure on Wild Life,” prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India, at the planning stage itself, he said.
Further, site-specific mitigation measures are being taken in consultation with forest authorities, incorporating one or more of several options as per site requirements like construction of culverts, underpass, overpass (ecoduct), viaduct, tunnel, guard wall, fencing, vegetative barrier, anti-light glare, sound barrier etc, the minister said.
“Funds are also provided to the concerned forest authorities for taking measures as per their approved wildlife management plan, like creation of the waterholes, site specific plantation and landscaping, animal conservation units, rescue operation, anti-poaching unit, watch tower, monitoring, awareness, involvement of locals, construction of post guard, illumination and fencing around the boundary of protected area or its ESZ etc., for conservation of wildlife habitat and reduction of human animal conflict,” he said.
Cautionary sign boards and rumble strips are also placed in coordination with forest authorities to alert the public and road users and protect animals, Gadkari added. (PIB)