GUWAHATI: Wildlife and environmental activists in Arunachal Pradesh are enraged that the BJP government in the state will build an industrial corridor that will pass through a tiger reserve.
The activists alleged the East-West Industrial Corridor road, which will connect Seijosa in Pakke-Kessang district with Bhalukpong in West Kameng, would pass through the Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR).
The ambitious 692.7-km-long road will run along the foothills of Arunachal-Assam border. The detailed project report (DPR), which has been already approved by a high-powered committee, proposed an elevated corridor at the tiger reserve, to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs.2,550 crore.
Earlier, a divisional forest officer at the PTR had reportedly suggested the authorities to avoid construction at the PTR citing Forest Conservation Act (FCA) and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The FCA disallows survey, investigation or exploration of any kind by any agency inside a national park or wildlife sanctuary.
The argument over an elevated corridor at the PTR was that it can ensure the free movement of wild animals. The state government felt the project would enhance connectivity and develop the state’s foothill areas into economic and industrial zones.
However, environmental activists are not amused. One of them, Tana Jorjo Tara, said the project would be in violation of the Forest Acts of 1940 and 1972.
“The government said the elevated corridor at the PTR won’t harm the animals in any manner. But won’t materials be carried through ground? Also, trees have to be felled and pillars erected from the ground. Petrol, diesel and other materials will be transported. If there is an accident there tomorrow, there will be a loss of natural habitat. There will be other side effects as well. That’s why we are opposing,” Tara said.
He said the government could take a different route. When it is building such a mega project, it should have consulted a renowned conservation organisation, he insisted.
The activist alleged that people had been completely kept in the dark on the project. He had filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal in 2018 opposing the project via the PTR. The next hearing will be held on February 28.