Plan for 4-lane highway in Sariska reserve

Plan for 4-lane highway in Sariska reserve

Controversies related to the Ranthambore National Park are not yet over and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is planning to construct a four-lane highway in Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar district of Rajasthan.

The proposed highway will pass through the territory of two tigers in Sariska.
 The state government raised objection and has written a letter to the NHAI while retired officials of the Forest Department accused the NHAI of not taking any approval from the environment ministry and other authorities.

According to officials, the single-road state highway 248A presently passes through Sariska and the NHAI is planning to convert it into four-lane road. The expansion work involves construction of 20-km-long highway through the buffer zone of Sariska reserve which is the territory of two tigers, ST 4 and ST 10.

On a single day in December 2014, ST 10 crossed the state highway for 17 times.
The area marked for the 20-km stretch road is a heavy wild life zone and the proposed four-lane highway will pass through the territory of both the tigers. Sources in the Forest Department said Chief Wildlife Conservator of Sariska R S Rathore has written to the NHAI to first take approval from the Supreme Court and national tiger conservation council.

“The NHAI will convert state highway 248A into four lanes. About 20-km stretch passes through Sariska reserve.

“The Supreme Court has already banned any construction activity in the Sariska and entry of heavy vehicles is also banned. We have written a letter to highway authority but have not get any response,” said a senior official of the Forest Department.

Expansion of the highway will not only disturb the tiger habitat but it will destroy the entire ecological balance inside Sariska. The construction of highway will involve cutting of trees and levelling of natural water reservoir for the animals. Several environmentalists in the state are planning to approach the Supreme Court in this regard. 

In 2004, Sariska lost several tigers due to poaching and accidental deaths on the highway. Later, the Supreme Court banned the entry of heavy vehicles on the road. Retired officials of the Forest Department have alleged that the NHAI has not taken any permission from the apex court for this project and nor the state government has been informed.

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