Greens oppose highway thru tiger reserve
Ch Ramagopala Sastry
First Published : 16 Nov 2008 09:46:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 16 Nov 2008 12:46:10 PM
ISTONGOLE: Despite drawing a flak from environmental scientists,animal lovers and voluntary organisations, the Government is pushing ahead with highway work in the reserve forests. Many organisations are approaching courts seeking protection of ecology.
Recently, when a voluntary organsation approached the Supreme Court protesting against the construction of a highway through a reserve forest, the latter appointed an expert to study the damage likely to be caused by the highway to endangered animals. Only weeks later, the national Highway Authority of India (NHAI) proposed a national highway through the Tiger Reserve in Nallamala forest.
The proposed highway on a stretch of 330 km will pass through Kalvakurthy, Srisailam, Dornala, Atmakuru and Nandyal from Hyderabad. The Central Government has declared 3,563 sq.km. of the 6,500 sq.km. Nallamala forest as tiger reserve. Of the proposed 330-km highway, a stretch of 200 km falls under the Nallamala forest which is a rare tiger habitat.
According to the latest survey, there are 80 there are 80 tigers in the Nallamala forest tigers in the Nallamala forest.
Movement of vehicles has been banned between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. from Dornala, close to Srisailam, the abode of one of the five Jyothirlingas.
A tiger needs 80 sq.km. of thick forest cover for its survival. But due to human interference, the very existence of tigers has become a question mark. The construction of the road through Nallamala will pose a grave danger to the very existence of all tigers, a senior forest official told this paper.
R&B Engineer-in-Chief K Siva Reddy said the Central Government had given the green for the first phase of works.
The Supreme Court had, in the past, clarified that vehicle movement in the night is justified in the tiger reserve as it ensures that no disturbance is caused to wild animals which move about only in the night time for breeding and in search of food.
In spite of such clear guidelines, going ahead with the road construction would only pose a threat to tigers in their natural habitat, a forest official said.