NHAI plans underpasses for wild animals

NHAI plans underpasses for wild animals

NHAI plans underpasses for wild animals

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is planning to build underpasses on national highways which pass through forests and wildlife sanctuaries.

This move comes as an attempt to ensure free movement of wild animals in protected areas.

Initially, the NHAI is proposing to build 25 such structures on highways which pass through sanctuaries including Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand, forests areas in Assam, Chambal and roads connecting Kanha and Pench tiger reserves.

The NHAI is of the view that building such structures will not only help to mitigate animal-human conflicts but will also help in getting early green nod for highway projects from various authorities.

Underpasses will be six to eight-metre-high to ensure even big animals like elephants can pass through without any hurdles, an official in the NHAI told Deccan Herald.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is working with Wildlife Institute of India and National Tiger Conservation Authority for implementing these projects based on animal migration. As per the proposals, the ministry also plans to fence both sides of the highways to prevent vehicles from entering the core zone. Speed of vehicles will also be restricted to 40 kmph.

The NHAI has also proposed using space technology for planning and monitoring of conflict zones and putting in place mitigation measures.

To reduce incidents of human-animal conflicts, an environment ministry’s draft on wildlife conservation plan has suggested identification and documentation of wildlife species that regularly come into such conflict. It also suggested conducting surveys at national and regional levels to identify wildlife species coming regularly into humans habitats.

The NHAI will work with wildlife institutions and other experts in taking care of the conservation and mitigation needs associated with highway development, said an official. Even for existing highways, the government is planning to build animal passages with funding from corporate houses under corporate social responsibility, he said.

The NHAI has  proposed using space technology for planning and monitoring of conflict zones and putting in place mitigation measures.


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