Some reports have emerged in the media that have created an impression that the Kanha – Pench Wildlife Corridor is going to be adversely impacted as a result of upgradation of the National Highway-7. It is being claimed that the efforts of conservationists in providing adequate mitigation measures on the said stretch have been overlooked.
NHAI wishes to clarify that the project under question involves widening of the existing NH-7, which is the longest National Highway in the country and the lifeline for millions of people, connecting North and South India. Mitigation measures suggested earlier by WII and NTCA were re-examined to optimize resources on the basis of scientific studies, while at the same time ensuring that conservation needs are not compromised. The mitigation measures finalized by these premier wildlife institutes of the country are based on rigorous scientific studies, considering all the available knowledge and best practices available in the field of road ecology. The criteria that were specifically considered during the review of the design of wildlife passages include the Openness Ratio, height of wild animals (the height of their sensory receptors like eyes and ears), nature of animals (solitary or moving in herds), time of movement of animals (nocturnal or diurnal), geomorphological features along the highway corridor, etc. In fact, the measures being adopted in the extant case are far superior to those followed elsewhere in the World.
It appears that there is a fresh attempt to re-open a well settled issue without any scientific basis. NHAI is fully sensitive to the requirement of wildlife conservation. It has reviewed the subject matter of wildlife conservation vis-à-vis road construction thoroughly and is convinced that the measures finalized by the wildlife institutions will fully meet the requirement of habitat connectivity. NHAI continues, and will continue, to work hand in hand with the Wildlife Institutions and other experts in taking care of the conservation and mitigation needs associated with highway development. NHAI is open to consider other effective measures, like Wildlife Over-crossings of different types, improvisation of cross-drainage structures for safe movement of smaller animals, guide fences, speed restrictions, cautionary sign boards, etc., on any highway stretch as per the specific requirement. Those interested in wildlife conservation may send their suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is noteworthy that completion of NH-7 has been pending on the aforesaid stretch for the last almost 10 years.