HUBBALLI: What seems likes a long pending railway project between Hubballi and Ankola is finally chugging. Last week a team of officials from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, conducted a survey between Kiravatti near Yellapur to Ankola.
The survey team along with the local forest officials visited the sites where maximum number of damage is estimated to the green cover. The team is said to be suggesting some change in alignment to ensure less damage is caused to the wildlife corridors.
An official from the NTCA told TNIE that the project will be implemented after the Authority gives its report. “The idea is to safeguard the wildlife corridors so cause minimum damage. Hence the team will be suggesting measures, alterations to ensure minimum damage is caused to wildlife habitat. Creating animal crossing areas, barricading the railway line at crossing points are thought about. Some places to save large tree cover the team may also suggest construction of additional tunnels,” the official said.
The soften stand of NTCA comes two months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chided the state government over delay in implementing the long pending railway project between Hubballi and Ankola. Speaking at a election rally in Hubballi, Prime Minister had accused the previous Congress state government of not being ‘enthusiastic’ to implement the project.
Economists point out that the 168 km long railway line between Hubballi and Ankola will change the face of North Karnataka. The railway connectivity between coast and North Karnataka will boost development in the region and also upgrade the existing small ports along Uttara Kannada district.
Earlier the NTCA had raised concerns over the project as the railway line cuts through and fragments the old migration path of India elephants. Out of the six tiger occupied landscapes of India, the Western Ghats landscape possesses best habitat connectivity and contiguity. The Tiger occupancy in the Western Gats landscape is highly dynamic.