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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Bullet train project to affect 11 mangrove species, 177 types of birds

At an estimated cost of Rs 1.10-lakh crore, the bullet train project will span 508 km between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Of this, 155.76 km falls in Maharashtra and 23.5km lies within the state’s coastal regulation zones.

mumbai Updated: Sep 23, 2019 13:30 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Construction of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway (MAHSR) project would affect eleven types of mangroves trees, 177 species of resident and migratory birds.
Construction of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway (MAHSR) project would affect eleven types of mangroves trees, 177 species of resident and migratory birds.(HT Photo)
         

Eleven types of mangroves trees, 177 species of resident and migratory birds, among other animals, will be affected by the construction of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway (MAHSR) project, a report revealed.

These details were part of a yet to be released 85-page project report by the Mangrove Society of India (MSI) from June 2018, on the environmental impacts of the bullet train. Environmentalists from The Nature Connect and Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishtan got these details via an RTI response from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change earlier this week.

At an estimated cost of Rs 1.10-lakh crore, the bullet train project will span 508 km between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Of this, 155.76 km falls in Maharashtra and 23.5km lies within the state’s coastal regulation zones. A total of 5.2km of mangroves and mudflats will be lost on either side of the Thane creek. Environmental implications were assessed across Thane, Palghar, Kopar Khairane, Diva, Kewani, Bhiwandi, along Vaitarna estuary, and Bharuch (Narmada River), Gujarat.

The report stated that the socio-economic impacts may include increased risk of flooding, increased erosion of coastlines, saline intrusion and increased storm surges. Acting as a bridge between land and sea, mangroves are a natural buffer and a carbon sink larger than tropical rainforests.

The NHSRCL said all mitigation measures mentioned in the MSI report to reduce the impact on wildlife and mangroves will be adopted. “The alignment in mangrove-affected area, especially Thane creek, passes through a 30m underground tunnel to avoid disturbances to the flamingo sanctuary and nearby mangroves. The main motive behind passing MAHSR through an undersea tunnel was not only to protect and preserve mangroves, but not to disturb the flora and fauna of the sanctuary,” said Sushma Gaur, additional general manager (corporate communications), NHSRCL.