- Western Ghats are in grave danger if the Hubballi-Ankola rail track is constructed.
- Close to 2 lakh trees may be felled for the track construction.
- This may expose wildlife to poaching and rail and road accidents.
An assessment is yet to be done in the Dharwad division as the last enumeration was done in the year 2005. This will be followed by a final assessment of tree cover for all the three divisions.
The three-member committee, which was set up by the regional office of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on the directives of the National Green Tribunal on February 19, 2016, has asked the railway ministry to come up with revised proposal and seek MoEF's approval.
The committee had raised serious doubt on the construction of the railway stretch, given the requirement for deforestation in the Western Ghats and the loss of natural habitat. According to a report by the New Indian Express, the committee states, "The number of trees proposed to be felled is very high and we suggest that an environmental impact assessment study is held. The forest area in Yellapur and Karwar divisions is very dense and part of Western Ghats and this will be completely disturbed if this project is approved. The Railways’ proposal to construct 34 tunnels and nine railway stations will require additional forest area which is not part of the land use plan presently. Most of these are on forest lands.”
It further adds, "The railway track was initially proposed for transportation of iron and manganese ore which at present is not justified. As of now, not many trucks are seen plying on NH-63 which runs almost parallel to the proposed railway track. The capacity of the existing road is not fully utilised, so where is the need for a rail track?”.
The railway project will cross Kadra, Kodsalli, Supa dams, Kaiga Atomic Power Project and Gangavali river. This makes the wildlife vulnerable to poachers and railway and road accidents. Moreover, the local and spill out wildlife population of Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and Kali Tiger Reserve are dependent on this particular stretch of land.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 7:05 PM IST