Environmentalists to move SC against Belagavi-Goa highway project
Several environmental activists in Karnataka have decided to move Supreme Court against the planned road widening project of the Belagavi-Goa National Highway 4A.
This project has caused severe damage to lakhs of trees that bring seasonal heavy rains in Belagavi, Uttara Kannada and Dharwad districts. The rivers Kali, Mahadayi and Malaprabha originate from this region. This region has dense and evergreen forests. The destruction of trees will lead to water scarcity and will severely affect agricultural activities. Moreover, this will also give rise to incidences of man-animal conflict will only increase.
The National Highway Authority of India has decided convert all roads through the forests to four-lanes. These forest areas are classified as “Class I – Very Dense Forest”. The trees being cut belong to a particular species that cannot grow if planted elsewhere. It is apparent that the authorities are under pressure from the timber lobby to execute this project. Kannada film actor-director and environmentalist Suresh Heblikar, Manjunath J, PV Hiremath and other well-known environmentalists have opposed this project.
The environmentalists have placed these demands:
- The roads passing through the forests should be strictly two–lane.
- Any road passing through the wild animal corridor should not be more than two-lane. The elephants – especially the calves — have an issue crossing such roads. Speeding vehicles may cause accidents.
- Roads passing through the forests should have speed limits.
- Roads passing through Eco Class I should not be widened.
- Night traffic should be banned in elephant reserves.