Amid criticism, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has given nod to Tinaighat-Castlerock-Caranzol railway doubling project. The project comes in wake of saturation of single railway track given the increase in industries and tourists.
The controversial project is expected to involve diversion of 10.45 ha of forest land in Dandeli wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka’s Western Ghats, according to a report by HT.
The proposed rail track will pass through a wildlife corridor between Bedthi Conservation Reserve (BCR) and Kali Tiger Reserve (KTR), a natural habitat for many species, including tigers and elephants.
Union environment minister, Prakash Javadekar, tweeted, "Happy to inform that in its 60th meeting, NBWL has recommended the proposal for Tinaighat-Castlerock-Caranzol Railway doubling of southwestern railways, Karnataka with certain mitigation measures as advised by the Wildlife Institute of India."
Happy to inform that in its 60th meeting NBWL has recommended the proposal for Tinaighat-Castlerock-Caranzol Railway doubling of South Western Railways, Karnataka with certain mitigation measures as advised by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. #conservation #wildlife— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) January 6, 2021
According to a report on the environment ministry’s Parivesh website, the area covering both Kali Tiger Reserve and Anshi Wildlife Division harbours tigers, leopards, gaur, sambar, etc. and is endemic to Castlerock Night Frog.
Citing the irreparable damage it could do to the ecosystem, the project had been rejected several times earlier.
It is estimated that some 1.9 lakh trees will be cut for the project.
According to the scientists say the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot has already lost 33,000 square kilometres (km), or up to 40% of its forest cover, in the last 100 years.