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Assam to construct 36 km long flyover to reduce wildlife fatalities at Kaziranga

By Shreya
|

Guwahati, Sep 07: In a bid to protect wildlife, the government of Assam has proposed to build elevated roads with viaducts on stretches of National Highway 37 (NH37) that passes through Kaziranga National Park in Assam.

The flyover will be the longest in India, more than the length of the PVNR Express Highway in Hyderabad, which is 11.6 km long.

Image credit: PTI

"The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is preparing the detailed project report (DPR) at present and the total cost of the flyover, which will be 11 metres wide, is expected to be around Rs 2,600 crore," Assam forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya said.

The proposal was made in response to an order issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in November 2013.

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The proposed elevated road or flyover on the National Highway 37 covering areas stretching from Jhakhalabondha to little beyond Kohora will pass through Kaziranga. The total length and width of the elevated road will be 38.84 km and 11 meters respectively.

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    The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is currently preparing the DPR and expected to complete the report by the end of this year.

    "Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had granted EC in 1991 to respondent 6 (Numaligarh Refinery Ltd). One of the conditions of the EC provided they shall create an alternative highway or divert NH 37 stated to be passing through Kaziranga Sanctuary away from it. This condition was admittedly imposed and communicated to all including Assam and yet it has not been complied with," the bench said.

    The committee comprising of senior officials of Assam, ministries of environment, petroleum, transport as well as NHAI and others have to submit a report of their suggestions before the next date of hearing 10 December, the bench said.

    In their report, the panel has to state whether underpasses or flyovers can be built in the area, the extent to which speed of vehicles shall be maintained and checked on the 18 km stretch of highway through Kaziranga, steps to ensure that no overloaded vehicles ply on that road, to prohibit use of horns and sirens in that area and installation of cameras and speedometers.

    About Kaziranga National Park

    Kaziranga National Park is a national park, which hosts two-thirds of the world's great one-horned rhinoceroses, is a World Heritage Site. According to the census held in March 2018, the rhino population in Kaziranga National Park is 2,413. It comprises 1,641 adult rhinos (642 males, 793 females, 206 unsexed); 387 sub-adults (116 males, 149 females, 122 unsexed); and 385 calves.

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