RAIPUR: The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has come up with stringent measures, which might put the brakes on the construction of a 26-km road running through the Bhoramdev Sanctuary. The road connects three tiger reserves.
Objections were raised as it would adversely affect wildlife and questioned the need for upgrading a road with barely three vehicles (revealed RTI Act) moving on it per day.
The state government had already allotted work worth Rs 140 crore for construction and widening of the 26-km stretch. The previous BJP government has approved the widening of 60.8 km road — Chilphi-Rengakhar-Salhewara — in Kawardha district and 26-km passes through the sanctuary.
There were reports of massive tree feeling after which wildlife enthusiast Nitin Singhvi moved the high court.
On the instruction of the HC, the NTCA carried out a site appraisal and came up with the stringent measures.
NTCA has asked the Chhattisgarh Road Development Corporation Ltd to construct 17 flyovers (300-750 metre long underpasses) along the specified locations.
The NTCA has also said that small bridges will need to be constructed every 100 meters for reptiles and amphibians.
Officials justified the plan citing two reasons — countering Left-wing extremism and rural connectivity. “The region neither has a strong Maoist presence nor sees a heavy movement of vehicles,” Singhvi argued.
A forest officer, earlier posted in the region, said the area falls under the home district of former chief minister Raman Singh and there was pressure to accomplish the plan.
The NTCA team recommended the construction of elevated corridors (underpasses) for the whole length of the road passing through the sanctuary and wildlife corridors.
Experts on road and flyover constructions said that the cost of the project (`138 crore) would increase manifold and might touch `900 crore. Wildlife enthusiasts hope the project will now be held back.