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Panel for curbing human settlement along NH-37 (Feb.)


Assam Tribune, Guwahati, Feb. 18, 2014

 GUWAHATI, Feb 18 – The Review Committee set up by the National Tiger Conservation Authority of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to review the Assam Government report on the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) stretch of the National Highway-37, has underlined the need to arrest the growth of human settlement along the National Highway in this stretch for the safety of the KNP animals along all the proposed corridors.

The MoEF in its report to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) said that the Committee has called for steps to maintain the Kaziranga flood plains with Karbi Anglong and surrounding hills ‘as single landscape complex.’

For, the Committee has observed the KNP flood plain as highly dynamic. The survival of wildlife in this flood plain depends on the movement of animals to Karbi Anglong and surrounding hills, it said.

The Committee has further suggested effective traffic management in this portion of the NH-37, specially during the monsoon season to safeguard the movement of animals across the landscape till flyovers are constructed. The measures may include reducing traffic volume at peak traffic hours (1600-2000 hours), which coincides with peak animal activity, stopping night traffic specially during the monsoon season.

“It is not the road, which acts as a barrier, it is the volume of traffic on roads. On an average, there is 7 per cent increase in traffic on NH-37 from the last three years and if it continues to increase like this, the existing measures shall not be effective. Therefore, the Committee strongly recommends flyover bridges for vehicles,” said the MoEF in its report to the NGT.

It needs mention here that the State Government has identified four corridors – Kanchanjuri-Burapahar (4km), East Haldibari-Bagori (2.82 km), Borjuri-Panbari Beat (4.40 km) and Burapahar –Deosur Nala (2.5km).

The Committee constituted by the Tiger Conservation Authority has identified Amguri East (300m), Amguri West (1km) and Gibbon Crossing near Kukrakata as the additional corridors as the potential corridors, which are frequently used by the KNP wildlife.

The Review Committee is of the view that the crossing proposed by the State Government and additional areas recommended by it shall safeguard wildlife movement vis-à-vis NH-37. The Committee has recommended overpass/flyover/bridge instead of underpass and Eco ducts proposed by the State Government, as long-term measures.

The MoEF said in its report that the Committee has stated that the engineers proposed that the flyover should be 10-metre high. The design seems to be reasonable considering the wildlife of the area. However, at some places there is need of realignment for construction to reduce disturbance during construction and ease of animal movement during construction phase.