Delhi-Dehradun expressway: NBWL’s nod deals blow to conservationists

Dehradun: The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has approved Ganeshpur-Dehradun Road (NH72A) which is an extension of Delhi-Dehradun expressway.

This a setback to environmentalists who have raised serious concern about the environmental damage if the project becomes operational.

The highway project was awaiting environmental clearance since 19.78-km of the highway passes through eco-sensitive zone of Rajaji Tiger Reserve and Shivalik Elephant Reserve.

Media reports said Uttarakhand will have to sacrifice 2,500 Sal trees of British era and spare 10 hectares of land in reserve forest that is part of Rajaji park for the expressway project. In UP, nearly 47 hectares of Shivalik reserve comes under the expressway project.

Himanshu Arora, secretary of an NGO Citizens for Green Doon, said for reducing travel time just by 10-20 minutes, what is the need to sacrifice 2,500 trees in Dehradun. The trees are over a century-year-old, he added.

Experts from the scientific community also expressed reservation over the tree removal from Shivaliks saying it will lead to erosion and impact the overall ecosystem.

JM Tomar, Principal Scientist, Indian Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Dehradun said felling of trees in the foothills of Shivalik would lead to the dry climate and increase global warming.

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