The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) sent the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) a directive on Monday to obtain wildlife clearance before upgrading National Highway 748AA, which runs through protected areas in Goa, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.
The decision was made in response to a complaint made by wildlife advocate Giridhar Kulkarni, who expressed concern about the project’s potential effects on the environment, The Indian Express reported.
The Peeranvadi, Navage, Kinaye, Kusamalli, Jamboti, Kalmani, Kankumbi villages in the Belagavi district of Karnataka and Poriem, Matnee are connected by the NH 748AA, which begins close to Machhe and ends in Sanquelim (next to Shri Dattatreya Mandir) in Goa. The Belagavi territorial forest division is in charge of the project in Karnataka.
The NTCA reportedly told the NHAI, that a larger Protected Area Network, including the Kali Tiger Reserve, Dandeli Sanctuary (Castlerock area), Bhimgad Sanctuary, Mollem National Park, Mhadei Sanctuary, Tillari Conservation Reserve, Chandgad Conservation Reserve, Radhanagari Sanctuary, and Sahyadri Tiger Reserve, as well as Reserved Forests, are reportedly traversed by the aforementioned road improvement project.
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These protected areas are located in three states: Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra. Given the foregoing, it is asked that any appropriate wildlife clearance be obtained from the National Board of Wildlife prior to the start of road improvement work, said NTCA in its communication to NHAI.
The project’s estimated start date was June 30, 2022, with an estimated conclusion date of two years later. The project’s total estimated cost for the Karnataka and Goa sides is Rs 229.19 crore. However, no actual construction has yet begun.