PWD fence turns jumbo irritant in key corridor

PWD fence turns jumbo irritant in key corridor

Road row

Cement pillars lie on the road at Boredaddi near Budipadaga of Kollegal taluk.

Days after inviting criticism for taking up road construction work without permit in the Kali Tiger Reserve, PWD officials have come under scrutiny once again for erecting road fence inside the crucial wildlife corridor in Chamarajanagar district.

Forest officials in Kollegal spotted fences coming up on the side of the State Highway 30 at Boredaddi, a settlement near Budipadaga in Kollegal taluk. It was found that the officials from the Public Works Department (PWD) were raising the three-foot fence on the shoulder of the road.

The Edayarhalli–Doddasampige elephant corridor is a crucial stretch of land that connects the forests of Kollegal with Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple Sanctuary.

Yedukondalu V, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Chamarajanagar, said such constructions are illegal anywhere on the 1.8 km-wide corridor as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). 

“The bright colour of the cement pillars also irritates the elephants. The officials said they were not aware of the guidelines. I am writing to PWD about the violation. Such works should not be taken up in the area in future,” Yedukondalu said. The officer also noted that fences were not needed on such roads due to speed restrictions of 30 kmph in the wildlife corridor.

PWD engineers at the district level, however, were not aware of the issue. An official in the department said the work was taken up by the taluk level engineer. “The work has been stopped. We will soon remove the pillars in the area,” the official said.