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DFCC tracks under sanctuaries to prevent disruption to wildlife

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SummaryMarred with environment riders, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation, constructing 3.300-route-kilometers of dedicated freight corridors on country’s eastern and western flanks at the cost of R80,000 crore, will now have to build underpasses in wildlife sanctuaries through which its tracks would pass for the smooth movement of animals.

Marred with environment riders, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCC), constructing 3.300-route-kilometers of dedicated freight corridors on country’s eastern and western flanks at the cost of R80,000 crore, will now have to build underpasses in wildlife sanctuaries through which its tracks would pass for the smooth movement of animals.

The 1,483-km-long western corridor of DFCC between Dadri and Mumbai passes through the Balram Ambaji and Thol sanctuaries of Gujarat and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park of Maharashtra.

The environment approval needed for laying of tracks in Ambaji Sanctuary, which was stuck with the Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court, has now got the clearance but with some interesting riders - such as putting crash barriers along the tracks and building underpasses for the movement of animals.

The CEC clearance for Sanjay Gandhi National Park is also expected to get clearance soon with similar riders.

“We will be putting crash barriers along the tracks passing through Ambaji Sanctuary and Sanjay Gandhi National Park and underpasses would also be built so that the movement of animals is not restricted by the tracks. Animals have a set pattern and route of movement, according to which specials paths underneath the rail tracks would be made. The state wildlife boards will provide us with the complete study on specifications of these underpasses,” said RK Gupta, managing director, DFCC.

Experts believe that these underpasses have to be intelligently built and camouflaged into the animal habitat, as even a unfamiliar incline will deter animals from using them. Environmental issues have been threatening to delay the project. Permission from the environment ministry for “diversion of forest land” under the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 is also required.

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