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Accidents along animal corridors on the decline

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, April 11 � Between 2003 and 2013, 215 Kaziranga National Park (KNP) animals were run over by speeding vehicles on the National Highway-37, at an annual average of around 25.

This has come to light from the presentation of the State government at a meeting held with officials of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Numaligarh Refinery Ltd, National Highway Authority of India, Wildlife Institute of India and the Ministry of Road Transport, among others. The meeting was held on February 16, 2015, as per the directive of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in connection with the Original Application No.174 of 2013 (Rohit Choudhury versus Union of India and Others).

The meeting discussed the proposal of the structures mooted on seven animal corridors and it was stated that the estimate made by the State Public Works Department (PWD) for the purpose was Rs 2,543.00 crore. The proposal for erecting structures on these animal corridors was discussed in view of the fact that the State government reiterated its stand on the idea of diverting the KNP stretch of the NH-37, describing it as not feasible.

The State government claimed that only four KNP animals were killed by speeding vehicles on the national highway in 2014 and attributed this sharp decline in the accident-related death of KNP animals on the highway to intensive patrolling and strengthening of the monitoring and surveillance activities on the highway, especially during the rainy season.

It was pointed out by the State government officials that the proposed structures will need time for completion and will disturb the existing corridors during construction. Moreover, it is not certain that once this structures are constructed, animals will use them after a gap of three to four years as they might use other places as corridors. It was observed that if intensive patrolling, monitoring and surveillance can prove so effective as shown by the result of 2014, then the Government of Assam should prepare a detailed plan for reinforcing the patrolling, monitoring and surveillance of the stretch of the NH from Kaliabor to Bongaon.

The next meeting was called on March 11, 2015 to discuss the Action Plan.

During deliberations at this meeting, it was noted that as the entire KNP stretch of the NH was being used by animals for crossing and the accident-related deaths of animals occur in the NH stretches marked as corridors is almost similar to that of other parts of the road (not identified and marked as corridors). The construction of flyovers, etc, proposed might not fully address the problem of accident-related deaths of animals.

It was decided that a Corridor Management Plan should be prepared by the Park Authorities, Government of Assam with the help of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to address the areas of concern, including the death or injury to animals in accidents.

Meanwhile, the Assam government should strengthen the measures to regulate the growing traffic, which is likely to be reduced by the construction of the road bypassing the sanctuary. It was noted that this road is being constructed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) through Assam State Public Works Department (PWD, said the minutes of the meeting.

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Accidents along animal corridors on the decline

GUWAHATI, April 11 � Between 2003 and 2013, 215 Kaziranga National Park (KNP) animals were run over by speeding vehicles on the National Highway-37, at an annual average of around 25.

This has come to light from the presentation of the State government at a meeting held with officials of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Numaligarh Refinery Ltd, National Highway Authority of India, Wildlife Institute of India and the Ministry of Road Transport, among others. The meeting was held on February 16, 2015, as per the directive of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in connection with the Original Application No.174 of 2013 (Rohit Choudhury versus Union of India and Others).

The meeting discussed the proposal of the structures mooted on seven animal corridors and it was stated that the estimate made by the State Public Works Department (PWD) for the purpose was Rs 2,543.00 crore. The proposal for erecting structures on these animal corridors was discussed in view of the fact that the State government reiterated its stand on the idea of diverting the KNP stretch of the NH-37, describing it as not feasible.

The State government claimed that only four KNP animals were killed by speeding vehicles on the national highway in 2014 and attributed this sharp decline in the accident-related death of KNP animals on the highway to intensive patrolling and strengthening of the monitoring and surveillance activities on the highway, especially during the rainy season.

It was pointed out by the State government officials that the proposed structures will need time for completion and will disturb the existing corridors during construction. Moreover, it is not certain that once this structures are constructed, animals will use them after a gap of three to four years as they might use other places as corridors. It was observed that if intensive patrolling, monitoring and surveillance can prove so effective as shown by the result of 2014, then the Government of Assam should prepare a detailed plan for reinforcing the patrolling, monitoring and surveillance of the stretch of the NH from Kaliabor to Bongaon.

The next meeting was called on March 11, 2015 to discuss the Action Plan.

During deliberations at this meeting, it was noted that as the entire KNP stretch of the NH was being used by animals for crossing and the accident-related deaths of animals occur in the NH stretches marked as corridors is almost similar to that of other parts of the road (not identified and marked as corridors). The construction of flyovers, etc, proposed might not fully address the problem of accident-related deaths of animals.

It was decided that a Corridor Management Plan should be prepared by the Park Authorities, Government of Assam with the help of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to address the areas of concern, including the death or injury to animals in accidents.

Meanwhile, the Assam government should strengthen the measures to regulate the growing traffic, which is likely to be reduced by the construction of the road bypassing the sanctuary. It was noted that this road is being constructed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) through Assam State Public Works Department (PWD, said the minutes of the meeting.