DEHRADUN: Wildlife experts have expressed their outrage over clearance given to the passing of controversial Laldhang-Chillarkhal road by National Wildlife Board. They stated that the approval is wrong and would prove detrimental to the wildlife.
The activists also said that they will challenge the approval which was granted last month. Bhanu Bansal, an activist who said that he will be challenging the decision through his NGO said, “NBWL clearance is contrary of the committee report which decided to construct a Flyover of 4.5 Km of length at Landhag-Chillarkhal Road.”
The experts, activists added that it is shocking that NBWL cleared the project without taking into consideration various government reports which clearly advised against it.
“Apart from this, site inspection report issued by a team comprising of DBivash Pandav (Scientist, Wildlife Institute of India) and Kaushik Banerjee (Project Scientist, NTCA Tiger Cell) which has recommended ‘Status Quo’ for the second stretch of the road between Chamaria bend and Sigaddi Sot and has further recommended that blacktopping should be avoided for this portion considering the High Wildlife usage of the area,” added Bansal.
Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun as well as Uttarakhand government has stated that out of 11.5 km of road, 4.5 km of Chamaria Bend to Siggadi Sot should not be altered as it is the only corridor used by elephants, tiger, leopards and other animals to pass from Rajaji Tiger Reserve to Corbett Tiger Reserve and vice-versa.
The matter goes back to year 2013 when the then state government decided that the first priority of Uttarakhand State would be the conservation and protection of wildlife and forest in the said area following which in 2014, a committee decided to construct a flyover of 7.5 Km of length at Landhag- Chillarkhal Road which falls within the buffer area of Rajaji Tiger Reserve.
In March 2019 Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the state government started construction of Laldhang-Chillarkhal Road inside Rajaji Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand following which in July 2019, the Supreme Court stopped the construction.
In December 2019, NTCA constituted a team which carried some recommendations.
In 2013, it was decided that the first priority of Uttarakhand would be the conservation of wildlife and forest in the area. Hence, in 2014, a committee was formed to consider the said issue.