Longest flyover to protect wildlife at Kaziranga planned
The Centre is planning to construct a flyover over National Highway 37 (NH 37) that passes through Kaziranga National Park in Assam in an attempt to protect wild animals, including endangered one-horned rhinos, from being hit by vehicles.
At 35km in length, the flyover will have three segments, the first segment will be around 18km. It will be the longest in India — more than the length of the PVNR Express Highway in Hyderabad, which is 11.6km long.
“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 R2,600 crore,” Assam forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya said.
The minister said the work on DPR is expected to be over within the next two months. Once that is done, the tender process would begin and work on the project is expected to start from the next year.
“The NH-37 is also an animal corridor and used by small and big animals, including elephants and rhinos. The main purpose for constructing the flyover is to protect the animals from being hit by vehicles while they cross the highway,” Suklabaidya said.
Kaziranga, the biggest habitat for one-horned rhinos, gets submerged every year during monsoon and its inhabitants flee to higher ground in neighbouring Karbi Anglong district by crossing NH 37.
While 200 wild animals including 18 rhinos were killed in the park due to flooding this year, 17 other animals, mainly deer, were killed by speeding vehicles while crossing the highway.
“The alignment of the flyover was prepared recently by the Wildlife Institute of India. The first segment of the flyover, divided into three segments, will be the lengthiest at 18km,” P Sivakumar, the director of Kaziranga National Park, informed.
While the existing highway will continue to be used for access to the park and various resorts near it, the flyover will be for those who don’t want to halt at Kaziranga.
The minister informed that the project is being planned in coordination with the National Green Tribunal, various other wildlife authorities and the Assam government.
“Construction of the flyover is good news. There is no option of diverting the highway and the flyover is a nice option. It’s a win-win for both motorists, as they don’t have to stop or slow down, and for the wild animals,” said wildlife activist Rohit Choudhury.