Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway: Wildlife Board Gives Conditional Nod For Project Work Near Kaundaniya Sanctuary, Rayala Elephant Reserve
The National Board for Wildlife has given its nod for the commencement of construction work near the forest reserve and wildlife zone area as part of the second phase of the 262 km Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway (BCE), Indian Express reported.
The second phase required additional clearance from the Wildlife Board as the proposed alignment passes through Palamaner Reserved Forest (RF) area. Around 50 km in the second phase falls within the ‘Eco-sensitive Zone’ (defined as an area within 10 Km radius from the outer boundary of the sanctuary) of the Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary.
While the second phase of the expressway does not pass through any ecological protected area (Wildlife Sanctuary/ National Park, Tiger Reserve or Eco-sensitive zone), Kaundaniya Wildlife Sanctuary exist within 10 Km radius of the project alignment.
The project alignment is passing through Palamaner Reserved Forest Area, under Chittoor Forest Division and constitutes a part of Rayala Elephant Reserve. Around 54 64 acres of forest reserve area was acquired
The project’s second phase is 85 km long and runs mainly through Andhra, except for a 5.5 km stretch in Karnataka.
The second phase of the expressway starts near N.G.Hulkur Village, next to Bangarpet in the Kolar district of Karnataka and ends at Ramapuram Village in Gudipala mandal in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
The construction work on the second phase of the expressway is already underway except inside the 61.73 hectares of forest land that NHAI has acquired for the project.
Montecarlo Ltd. (MCL) ,PCO Infratech Pvt. Ltd and Dilip Buildcon Ltd. (DBL) have been awarded the construction packages under this phase.
The second phase will comprise 17 major bridges (one major canal over the bridge), 34 minor bridges, 20 vehicular underpasses, eight vehicular overpasses, 26 light vehicular underpasses, two toll plazas, and four interchanges.
Part of Palamaner Reserve Forest constitutes Rayala Elephant Reserve, and elephant movement routes run along the project alignment at three locations.
Since part of the proposed expressway passes through Rayala Elephant Reserve and the Eco-sensitive Zone of Kaundinya Wild Life Sanctuary, the project alignment overlaps three Elephant movement routes.
To avoid habitat fragmentation and severance problem due to the proposed expressway, NHAI undertook adequate design measures in the form of bridges, elephant underpasses, and culverts in the forest stretch.
Based on a survey of elephant movement routes in consultation with the forest department, elephant underpasses have been proposed at 3 locations.
As additional measures for ensuring the free movement of wild animals in the forest stretch, minor bridges have been proposed across all the streams intercepted by the project alignment in the forest area. A total number of three box culverts have also been proposed, which will also provide access to the small size wild animals.
The Wildlife Board also directed NHAI to ensure that the wildlife area is utilised for the expressway and not for any commercial purpose.
The Wildlife Board also said that diversion work for the project would be executed under the supervision of the Forest Department, and the areas of diversion need to be demarcated by the agency before the commencement of work. The board ordered that the agency cannot carry out excavation work in the surrounding forest land to collect earth.
About the Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway (BCE)
The under-construction Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway (BCE) will pass through Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and, upon completion, reduce the travel time between the two metropolises to under three hours.
The four-lane, access-controlled road starts at Hoskote near Bengaluru, Karnataka, and ends at Sriperumbudur near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The expressway is being developed at the cost of Rs 16,500 crores.
The construction of the 262 km main carriageway is being executed in three phases( with each phase covering the alignment of Karnataka, Andhra and Tamil Nadu, respectively). Tenders have been awarded on all packages of the three phases, and work is in full swing.
The three packages in Karnataka (two with Dilip Buildcon and one with KCC Buildcon is progressing rapidly
Three packages of 71 km phase one is in Karnataka
A fourth phase envisages the construction of a 22.5 km, six-lane elevated expressway from Sriperumbudur to Maduravoyal. DPR is currently underway for the fourth phase.