The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) on Wednesday gave a go-head to divert 17.8 hectares of forest land in Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and the Tungareshwar wildlife sanctuary for a two-kilometre stretch of the dedicated freight corridor in the western region.
The standing committee (SC) of NBWL has, however, put forth conditions that the project proponent — Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation India Ltd. (DFCCIL), removes encroachments in and around SGNP (as ordered by the Bombay high court in 1996) in a timely manner and the state should send a quarterly report on the status of their removal to the SC.
The state has also been asked to provide more funds and resources for the removal of encroachments.
According to sources, SWM Naqvi, principal conservator of forests, wildlife, raised concerns about accidents involving animals on the railway tracks. He suggested that the project DFCCIL build two underpasses and two overpasses at a distance of 500m each on the freight corridor for free movement of wildlife.
“Since the expansion of line went through a protected area, we had to scrutinise it,” said Kishor Rithe, non-government member, standing committee, NBWL.