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Western Ghats, Tiger & Elephant Corridors Beneath Menace


    Tiger in Kali Tiger reserve

     1 / 4 century outdated railway mission continues to pose a risk to the Western Ghats, one of many eight biodiversity “hottest hotspots” of the world.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 bushes because it proposes a 164.44 km Hubballi-Ankola railway mission (HARP) via a dense  forest patch , additionally a hall for 2 iconic species- the tiger and the elephant. The truth is, not one however three elephant corridors will likely be impacted. Within the occasions when local weather change is a actuality,   the governments- each the centre and the state- push the mission preferring economics over surroundings. 

     Tiger Conservation Of Complete Western Ghats At Stake

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

    The railway mission, conceived in 1998, is proposed to move the forests between two main protected areas — Kali Tiger Reserve and Bedthi Conservation Reserve. Greater than 80% of the  railway line has to move via 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.  Positioned on the centre of  Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, Kali Tiger Reserve contains two vital protected areas of the area -Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and Anashi Nationwide Park .And they’re contiguous to one another to type 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 likely be misplaced and it’ll have critical implications for long run conservation of tigers in the complete Western Ghat panorama.The mission was proposed for transportation of iron and manganese ore and the identical could be completed via  NH-63 which continues to be underutilised.

    Additionally learn: Lethal Prepare 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 stated, “Moderating the tropical local weather of the area, the location presents top-of-the-line examples of the monsoon system on the planet. It additionally has an exceptionally excessive stage 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 embody among the finest representatives of non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests anyplace and are house to at the very least 325 globally threatened flora, fauna, hen, amphibian, reptile and fish species.”  Due to range and ecological processes that affect the monsoon, the complete catchment of Western Ghat is thought to supply 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 present ports of Vasco in Goa. Each Ports are but to be developed. In 2004, the whole mission price 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 Improvement Enterprise (KRIDE), a Authorities of Karnataka company.If sanctioned, it could take about 8 to 10 years to implement it.  The Railways proposed “mitigation plans “via a number of underpasses, overpasses and tunnels via which the proposed alignment is prone to move

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

    “ That is in reality a destruction plan and never mitigation plan”, stated a consultant of United Conservation Motion, a collective of involved residents voicing protest in opposition to the HARP.  Although over two lakh bushes are estimated to be minimize for the mission,  the precise quantity is prone to be way more, sources stated. In an Environmental Influence Evaluation report ready by the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, the whole financial valuation of the forest underneath proposed mission was assessed as Rs 40, 859 lakhs/ha/yr. The mission 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 mission 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 mission proper inside pristine forest. In 2019, the Union surroundings ministry exempted 13 pending railway initiatives, price Rs 19,400 crore ($2.8 billion) and unfold over 800 hectares of land, from the method of in search of forest permits, in response to official paperwork. These clearances might adversely impression 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 consultants, the standing committee of the Nationwide Board for Wildlife on January 5, 2021 cleared a railway mission to double a railway observe within the Western Ghats. The mission 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 mission, sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Railways in 2010-11, entails doubling of the 353-kilometre-long railway observe in Karnataka and Goa passing via the Western Ghats. The mission is split into two phases with Section I masking 252 km between Hospet and Tinaighat and Section II masking the Tinaighat-Vasco stretch. The part II entails 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