Ahead of the environment consultation for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, environmentalists have raised concerns over the corridor passing through eco-sensitive areas like Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary (TWLS).
While 77 hectares of forestland will be acquired for the project in Palghar and Thane districts of Maharashtra, the officials from National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) have stated that the bullet train project will also have an underground corridor in coastal regulation zone(CRZ) areas.
The NGOs and activists have highlighted that the project will impact wildlife movement in national parks and might also lead to flood like situations due to the development in CRZ areas.
“The proposed alignment of HSR passes between the SGNP and TWLS at chainage. SGNP has unique combinations of rich bio-diversity despite very high anthropogenic and biotic pressures due to its typical location and the almost complete biological fragmentation leading to the “fenced island” type case for its southern block and high values for nature tourism and Eco-tourism,” read the report.
Environmentalists have highlighted that the project may interfere with the movement of wildlife in the national park. “We already have incidents of road kills along Ghodbunder road and highways along SGNP. There are no details on the measures to prevent such accidents due to the bullet train project.
Moreover, these national parks also have catchment areas of Tulsi and Vihar lake. There are several creeks through which the HSR will pass, it is important to determine over-all damage to the environment,” said Dhwani Shah, Conservation Officer at Conservation Action Trust (CAT), an environmental NGO in Mumbai.
Meanwhile officials from NHSRCL have claimed that the route will also pass through CRZ areas of Palghar and Dahanu. “However, we have proposed underground corridor in these areas to ensure minimum damage to the coastal areas. We are also taking view of experts on the same. Presently we are studying the areas and hence specific locations are not finalised,” said a senior official from NHSRCL.