Western Ghats, Tiger & Elephant Corridors Underneath Risk

Tiger in Kali Tiger reserve

 1 / 4 century outdated railway venture continues to pose a menace to the Western Ghats, one of many eight biodiversity “hottest hotspots” of the world. Like many different jungles of India, the Railways intend to chop numerous timber because it proposes a 164.44 km Hubballi-Ankola railway venture (HARP) by means of a dense  forest patch , additionally a hall for 2 iconic species- the tiger and the elephant. In reality, not one however three elephant corridors will probably be impacted. Within the occasions when local weather change is a actuality,   the governments- each the centre and the state- push the venture preferring economics over atmosphere. 

 Tiger Conservation Of Whole Western Ghats At Stake

Bird's eye view of river Kali in Kali Tiger Reserve

The railway venture, conceived in 1998, is proposed to cross the forests between two main protected areas — Kali Tiger Reserve and Bedthi Conservation Reserve. Greater than 80% of the  railway line has to cross by means of the dense forest lands of the Western Ghats, and this entails the diversion of 595 hectares of prime forests which was initially proposed as 965  hectares.  Situated on the centre of  Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, Kali Tiger Reserve includes two vital protected areas of the area -Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and Anashi Nationwide Park .And they’re contiguous to one another to kind a single tract of protected space situated within the biodiversity delicate Western Ghats. Consequently the habitat connectivity between Kali Tiger Reserve and Bhadra Tiger Reserve will probably be misplaced and it’ll have severe implications for long run conservation of tigers in your complete Western Ghat panorama.The venture was proposed for transportation of iron and manganese ore and the identical may be performed by means of  NH-63 which remains to be underutilised.

Additionally learn: Lethal Practice Tracks Threaten Tiger Hall In MP

UNESCO described the Western Ghats : “Older than the Himalaya mountains, the mountain chain of the Western Ghats represents geomorphic options of immense significance with distinctive biophysical and ecological processes. The positioning’s excessive montane forest ecosystems affect the Indian monsoon climate sample.” It additionally mentioned, “Moderating the tropical local weather of the area, the location presents probably the greatest examples of the monsoon system on the planet. It additionally has an exceptionally excessive degree of organic range and endemism and is acknowledged as one of many world’s eight ‘hottest hotspots’ of organic range. The forests of the location embrace a few of the greatest representatives of non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests wherever and are dwelling to a minimum of 325 globally threatened flora, fauna, chook, amphibian, reptile and fish species.”  Due to range and ecological processes that affect the monsoon, your complete catchment of Western Ghat is understood to offer water safety to peninsular India.

 The Plan Destruct Pristine Forests   

Proposed HARP

The HARP is  conceived primarily for the transportation of iron and manganese ores from Bellary-  Hospet Area to imminent two new ports of Tadri (close to Ankola) and Karwar on the western coast of Karnataka and to the prevailing ports of Vasco in Goa. Each Ports are but to be developed. In 2004, the entire venture value was Rs 1153.08 crores which was revised in 2017 to Rs 3,700 crores to be shared on a 50:50 foundation between the state authorities of Karnataka and the Railways. An MOU was signed between the 2 –the ministry of Railways and Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Growth Enterprise (KRIDE), a Authorities of Karnataka company.If sanctioned, it will take about 8 to 10 years to implement it.  The Railways proposed “mitigation plans “by means of a number of underpasses, overpasses and tunnels by means of which the proposed alignment is more likely to cross

Additionally learn:  Railways’ Push For Tracks in Tiger Reserves  Contradicts its Inexperienced Claims

“ That is the truth is a destruction plan and never mitigation plan”, mentioned a consultant of United Conservation Motion, a collective of involved residents voicing protest in opposition to the HARP.  Although over two lakh timber are estimated to be minimize for the venture,  the precise quantity is more likely to be way more, sources mentioned. In an Environmental Influence Evaluation report ready by the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, the entire financial valuation of the forest underneath proposed venture was assessed as Rs 40, 859 lakhs/ha/yr. The venture continues to be opposed. Like many others, Karnataka State Board of Wildlife unanimously rejected the proposal in a gathering on March 9 2020. However 11 days later the chairman of the board who occurs to be the chief minister of the state reconvened the assembly and the venture was cleared on March 20.

 Railways’ Pending Initiatives In Tiger Reserves 

Tiger crossing railway track

This isn’t the primary time that Railways have proposed some venture proper inside pristine forest. In 2019, the Union atmosphere ministry exempted 13 pending railway tasks, value Rs 19,400 crore ($2.8 billion) and unfold over 800 hectares of land, from the method of in search of forest permits, in line with official paperwork. These clearances may adversely affect a nationwide park, a tiger reserve, a tiger hall and wildlife sanctuaries throughout the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa. Regardless of warning by authorities appointed specialists, the standing committee of the Nationwide Board for Wildlife on January 5, 2021 cleared a railway venture to double a railway observe within the Western Ghats. The venture in query is the doubling of the observe of the Hospet-Hubballi-Londa-Vasco Da Gama railway line by the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL). 

Additionally learn:  Tiger Cubs In MP Nationwide Park Are Secure, However  For How Lengthy ?

The venture, sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Railways in 2010-11, includes doubling of the 353-kilometre-long railway observe in Karnataka and Goa passing by means of the Western Ghats. The venture is split into two phases with Section I protecting 252 km between Hospet and Tinaighat and Section II protecting the Tinaighat-Vasco stretch. The part II includes diversion of 9.57 ha of forest land within the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary (in Karnataka) and 113.857 ha within the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem Nationwide Park (in Goa). Later it was  rejected by the Supreme Courtroom appointed Central Empowered Committee.  The Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is a part of the Kali Tiger Reserve.

By Deshdeep Saxena

Cowl Pic Karnataka Tourism, Kali Tiger Reserve Cover  Sourced from Wikipedia 

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