The construction of the Tinaighat Castlerock Caranzol Railway track has been affirmed by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL). The project was opposed by a lot of environmentalists and scientists citing that it will destroy a very sensitive and protected area in the western ghats. It will involve the deforestation of about 11 ha of forest lands. A major part of this land comes under the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary which hosts some of the most endangered animals in the country.
Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar confirmed the construction of another line of railway in the Southwestern zone of Railway. The single railway line was constructed to connect the manufacturing areas of Hospet and Marmugoa to farther locations such as Goa and popular spots in Karnataka. ‘The line that was laid more than 110 years ago is now fully saturated with trains and needs another line to function properly’, officials said. Hospet and Marmugoa are locations for a lot of industries whose products have to be transported across the state.
The construction will take place keeping in mind the rules laid down by the forest ministry. It will ensure that minimal damage is done to the eco-sensitive area and that no animals are harmed or displaced. Karnataka is known to have the richest wildlife in the country and many locations are recognised globally as hot spots. The entire western ghat is an abode for rare species of birds, amphibians, and even animals such as tigers, cheetahs and bears. Wild boards, deer and elephants roam the area freely as well. It is no wonder that there are a lot of national reserves located in the zone.
Even with the assurance given by the officials, locals and environmentalists are worried about the safety of these animals. In cases where such lines have been constructed in national reserves, thousands of animals have lost their lives owing to these passing trains and human cruelty. Not to mention the deforestation will displace a lot of smaller animals such as birds, rats, rodents, and other critters. The project is estimated to cut down on at least 5000 trees in the Kali tiger reserve.