Chennai-Salem expressway hits 'green' block

Forest ministry asks NHAI to protect Kalvarayan forest while planning express highway between Salem and Chengam.

Published: 19th May 2018 05:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th May 2018 05:22 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose only.

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has recommended to the National Highways Authority of India to study the possibility of realigning the Chennai-Salem Express Highway between Chengam and Salem as it would affect the Kalvarayan hill forest.

While granting the terms for references for the Rs 10,000-crore eight-lane green corridor project between Chennai and Salem, the Ministry of Environment has observed that protecting Kalvarayan hills is essential and recommended to bring out a detailed report on number of trees to be felled for the project and its impact. “Kalvarayan hill forest between Chengam and Salem is important and is required to be conserved,” observed the EAC at its 189th meeting held on May 8 in Delhi.

Aiming to reduce the travel distance by 50 km between Chennai and Salem, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) has proposed to develop the 274.3-km green corridor project.The proposed greenfield corridor starts near Chennai ring road in Vandalur and ends at NH-544 bypassing Salem. The proposed alignment passes through Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri and Salem districts. The project also envisages construction of three bypass roads each at Kancheepuram (30 km), Chetpet (4.7 km) and Thiruvannamalai (16 km).

The proposed project involves construction of 23 major bridges, 156 minor bridges, nine flyovers, 22 vehicular under-passes (VUP), two major bridges-cum-vehicular underpasses grade II, 33 vehicular underpasses grade II and three tunnels.

Total land acquisition for the proposed alignment is about 2,560 hectares. There are about 32 settlements along the proposed alignment. “The tentative length of the affected forest area along the proposed alignment is about 13.290 km with about 120 hectares of affected forest area,” said the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in its proposal.

The proposed road will have toll plazas at eight locations and 10 bus and truck parking bays.After detailed deliberation, the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has granted the terms of references with the specific conditions that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) should find a possibility of re-alignment from Chengam to Salem to skip Kalvarayan hill forest.

The NHAI should “reanalyse the options of possible routes in respect of their suitability from environmental point of view. In addition, the NHAI should also conduct a comprehensive assessment of impact of road on local biodiversity, wildlife corridors and its mitigation strategy from a nationally recognized institute,” said the documents of Environmental ministry accessed by Express.

The Environmental Ministry has also directed a thorough assessment of proposed road alignment on wetlands including tanks and small reservoirs along the alignment and its mitigation strategy. While the Forest department is yet to assess the total number of trees to be felled for the project, the NHAI estimated that about 6,400 trees will have to be cut for acquiring the right of way (ROW), additional space required for the road project to build bus and truck parking bays.

 



Comments(12)

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  • kumar

    I don’t understand why media is so negative in Chennai Salem green highway project
    4 years ago reply
  • Anand Mudhaliyaar

    Even a numskull will NOT make this kind of project. This is purely for the benefit of the MNC Corporate companies to use our natural resources. This will only add more blood money of the common man in to Broker Politician's pockets. No benefit for the citizens. Please use 10000 crores for the well being of the State and improve the Environment conditions...!!
    4 years ago reply
  • senthilkumar

    For reducing 50 KM
    4 years ago reply
  • Karuvur_Sri

    OUR PEOPLE do not drive FERARIs and LAMBORGINIs not do we transport using them to drive at 100kms per hour speed. Please do not compare the infrastructure with USA. USA is four times bigger than India and its exploiting OIL from all countries to keep its logistics and infra active. We need to be judicious and use the PORTS to our advantage
    4 years ago reply
  • Karuvur_Sri

    Field survey has started only now. How did this 6500 trees number came into picture?
    4 years ago reply
  • Velu

    What a count for cutting tree. non scene NAHI is thinking that PPL are fool or what.. totally wrong information.
    4 years ago reply
  • Gowthamraj

    Save forest If this project will demolish major forest means what makes this as green corridor express way. Please save our flora habitants
    4 years ago reply
  • Rathinavel

    fasle information from NAHI
    4 years ago reply
    • Raja

      Total number of trees to be felled for the project being assessed. Approximately about 1.25 lakhs trees may be cut.
      4 years ago reply
  • Rathianvel

    The information from NAHI is false about cutting trees
    4 years ago reply
  • Srini

    Clear case of Highway Robbery. There are already two toll highway routes from Chennai to Salem. Chennai-Ulundurpet-Salem and Chennai-Krishnagiri-Salem. Highways Dept is making crores of rupees as income from highway toll
    4 years ago reply
    • Anti-indian

      Instead of a project like this
      4 years ago reply
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