Samruddhi Corridor to be flora, fauna friendly

Maharashtra's Samruddhi Corridor to be flora, fauna friendly

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo

The ambitious Mumbai-Nagpur super communication highway - of the major infrastructure projects of India - is being made nature-friendly and a host of steps have been initiated.

The Hindu Hruday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg is being meticulously designed to avoid disturbing animal activity in the surrounding area.

 As many as 96 wildlife structures, which include 7 overpass bridges, 89 underpasses, box culverts, and a few major and minor bridges, are being created to facilitate the passage of wildlife around the Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg.

To minimise accidents and the avoid entry of animals into highway corridors, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has prohibited planting of 13 varieties of fruit trees that attract wildlife, including mango, cashew, java plum, orange, citrus, and date palms. The Wildlife Institute of India (WWI), which is active in biodiversity research around the country, is collaborating in the construction of the Mumbai-Nagpur super communication highway.

The estimated cost of protecting wildlife along Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg is about 326 crore.

Commenting on the development, Minister of Urban Development Department Eknath Shinde said, “Our aim is to make people's travel from Mumbai to Nagpur faster, convenient and seamless. The construction of Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg is moving swiftly, and more emphasis has been placed on minimising environmental destruction. Cultural, conserved forests, protected regions, and wildlife sanctuaries will also be enhanced in order to boost tourism in the region. A "Green and Scenic Corridor" will also be created as part of the project.”

The Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg will also include large walls that will serve as noise barriers. These walls would stand an average 4 meter tall. These will be installed at multiple locations alongside the highway to prevent upsetting the natural habitat and wildlife in the surrounding area. A total of 11 lakh 31 thousand trees will be planted on both sides of the highway. Ornamental plants will also be placed on the highway barrier.

The large-scale tree planting along the highways will also help to mitigate the consequences of global warming and climate change. A drip irrigation system that catches and stores rainwater will irrigate all of the trees and water will be supplied through internal water sources using solar pumps in places with minimal rainfall. The plants will be inspected by a monitoring system based on geological studies, with tree adoption being the primary goal. The project also intends to nurture plants on a regular basis for the next five years after planting.

Nagpur, Wardha, Amravati, Washim, Buldhana, Jalna, Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Nashik, and Thane would be connected by this highway. 14 more districts will be linked to the highway indirectly via interchanges. This will result in the large-scale growth of adjacent districts and communities.

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