DEHRADUN The change of chief secretary has delayed signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the state government and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) for mapping and alignment of Kandi Road.The MoU was to be signed post Diwali.Kandi Road, the most ambitious project of the Trivendra Singh Rawat government, here has taken a backseat for some time. Utpal Kumar took up the charge as new chief secretary on October 25 replacing S Ramaswamy.Mapping and delineation of the road is the first step towards the plan for which the former chief secretary had planned to sign the MoU for immediate ground work. But, the matter is currently suspended. “The new chief secretary will have to be briefed about the project and it will take a few meetings to explain him the project,” a top forest officer told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity.The road promises better connectivity between Garhwal and Kumaon regions reducing the distance from 162 km to 90 km. This will also save at least 3 hours of journey. The main issue is the road traverses through Corbett Tiger Reserve for which the government is patiently working on the recommendations of WII for linear infrastructure development in protected areas.The Institute will conduct a ground survey identifying spots with wild animal movement so that eco-friendly initiatives could be taken. The Institute that came up with guidelines on balancing “development with conservation” through strategic step will help the government in scientifically working on the plan. But, this would only be the first step towards the giant project.The survey and mapping, which is estimated to take at least 6 months, will then proceed to the second step wherein Detailed Project Report (DPR) would be made. The survey will spot points where alignment of the road would be done following which the DPR would include the financial plan.“The ground work has already started and there’s no delay. Soon MoU would also be signed,” forest minister Harak Singh Rawat said.