Taking into account the recurring incidents of man-animal conflict because of large scale urbanisation in Gurgaon, the Haryana Wildlife Department plans to develop an underpass at Manesar that will enable animals to cross NH-8 safely.
The proposed underpasses will be covered with soil so that it depicts an image of the natural habitat of animals. The underpass will also be equipped with CCTV cameras to monitor wildlife.
The one-kilometre long cave structured underpass will connect Manesar and Bilaspur and it will be completed by the end of next year. “The proposed underpass will provide a protective enclosure for the flourishing wildlife in the area. Usually, because of the lack of any safe crossing options, animals choose to cross the highway, only to be mowed down by speeding vehicles,” Shyam Sunder Kaushik, divisional forest officer (wildlife), Gurgaon, said.
The underpass will be constructed for an estimated R 55 lakh.
In one of the latest incidents of man-animal conflict, Gurgaon residents complained about spotting leopards in the city in September.
Construction of a similar underpass is underway at Nahar Wildlife Sanctuary in Rewari district. The underpass is aimed at ensuring the safety of animal while crossing the Kosli-Kanina road that passes through the sanctuary. According to the wildlife department, the underpass will be compleated this year.
“The Rewari underpass is being constructed with a view to provide a well-placed wildlife crossings, coupled with fencing, so that it can reduce wildlife and vehicle collisions,” Kaushik said.
This crossing will be unique compared to crossings at other parts of the country as it will be developed keeping in mind the natural habitat of animals. This will allow researchers and biologists to study the pattern of migration of wildlife in the region.
An official of the wildlife department said the government should take steps to create similar underpasses for animals at various parts of the country and fence highways to avoid accidents.
A similar plan to mitigate man-animal conflict is also being taken up on the Mumbai-Goa National Highway (NH-17). Earlier this year, the National Highways Authority of India also proposed to build 25 underpasses on highways that pass through sanctuaries such as Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand, forests areas in Assam and Chambal, and roads connecting Kanha and Pench tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh.
Past incidents of man-animal conflicts in Gurgaon-
March 2008- A four-year-old leopard was caught from a Farmhouse in Sohna.
September 2008- A speeding vehicle killed a three-year-old male leopard when it was crossing the highway (NH-8) near Manesar village.
February 2009- A leopard and her two cubs were injured by a speeding vehicle on NH-8
July 2010- A five-year-old female leopard was recovered from a farmhouse in the Aravalli area of Gurgaon by forest department officials.
January 2011- A male leopard was beaten to death in Kheri Gujaran village by a mob in the presence of government officials.
December 2011- A blue bull (nilgai) was killed while trying to cross the Gurgaon-Faridabad road.
April 2014- Four leopards were found dead within a week in and around a private golf resort in Gurgaon.
November 2014- A 12-year-old male leopard was killed in a road accident in Manesar.
May 2015- A young female leopard was found dead after being hit by a vehicle on Gurgaon-Faridabad Road near Mangar Bani.