BENGALURU: The detailed project report (DPR) of the Chitradurga-Mangaluru inter-corridor of NH-173 from Mudigere Handpost to Nelliyadi Junction has been finalised after much deliberation and discussion.
The Rs 2,500-crore corridor is part of the Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) project — the main lifeline of the country’s road network, connecting major metros in a bid to improve freight movement.
The development of the proposed link is expected to shorten the distance for all freight movement by 196km. The foundation stone for the project is likely to be laid next month by Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.
At present, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which is seeking forest clearances, says the 230km Chitradurga corridor will involve a forest diversion of 60.13 hectares in the districts of Chikkamagaluru (7.95 ha), Hassan (7.35 ha) and Mangaluru (44.83 ha).
The proposed project will have a 30m right-of-way (ROW) within the reserve forest area and 60m ROW within non-reserve forest area. In the ghat section, the proposed road will have six lanes while in the non-ghat section, it will have four.
The project also needs 188.32 hectares of non-forest land, with 144 hectares in Chikkamagaluru alone. Applying for diversion of forest land to the deputy conservator of forests, Chikkamagaluru, Hassan and Mangaluru, the deputy general manager (technical) and project director (NHAI), Chitradurga, has claimed that the proposed road will pass through 22km of ghat section, and thereby involve least acquisition of land in revenue and forest areas.
This development will improve the existing connectivity, speed, reduce congestion on the proposed road and confluence point with the existing highway, for which a diversion of 60.13 hectares is required in all three districts.
Also, there will be no displacement of people in the forest areas, NHAI says.As per the preliminary environment assessment by NHAI, the proposed road that traverses four districts, including Koppal, passes through environmentally sensitive areas like protected areas, sanctuaries, reserve forests and Western Ghats Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ).
Therefore, it attracts various gazette notifications of the Centre, so their approval is needed before implementation of the project. Eight villages in the Nelliyadi-Mudigere section, including the very sensitive Shishila-Byrapura route, three in the Bantwal-Mudigere section, and one village in Mudigere-Kadur section will attract the ESZ notification. However, as per EIA notification, 2013, the project is exempted from environmental clearance.
NHAI officials say that with three protected areas of Kudremukh, Bhadra and Jogimatti, located within 10km of the proposed corridor, they will have to seek an NoC from the Standing Committee of the National Board of Wildlife. Further, with prominent elephant corridors falling on this route at various locations, discussions with local residents and forest department are necessary. Meanwhile, the forest department has said than the NHAI has submitted an incomplete application: it has no details of survey numbers and their extent in villages, and lacks details of a break-up of forest lands, proper maps of diversion, geo maps of the project site etc.