In a bid to protect wildlife, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is taking all necessary steps as prescribed by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL). The nodal Ministry for Wildlife Protection, the Ministry of Environment & Forest, has implemented various measures to avoid human-animal conflicts.
Centrally Sponsored Schemes for Wildlife Habitat Improvement
Through Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) such as ‘Project Tiger’, ‘Project Elephant’, and ‘Development of Wildlife Habitats (DWH)’, the Ministry provides funds to states and union territories for habitat improvement works. This includes restoration of natural water bodies, creation of artificial ponds and waterholes, and augmenting food and fodder sources at various locations within Protected Areas to minimize human-animal conflicts.
Advisory Issued for Safe Passage of Animals
The Ministry has issued advisories to States/UTs for submission of proposals for diversion within the protected areas and eco-sensitive zones along with animal passage plans. These plans are based on guidelines prepared by Wildlife Institute of India, called the Eco-friendly Measures to Mitigate Impacts of Linear Infrastructure on Wildlife. These guidelines suggest modifications in the designs of linear infrastructures, ensuring safe movement of wildlife across them.
These structures include tunnels, viaducts, animal underpasses, minor bridges, culverts, noise barriers, and anti-light glare structures. For instance, the Haridwar-Dehradun section of NH-58 & 72 has three elephant underpasses at Lal Tappar, Teen Pani on NH-72, and Motichur on NH-58. Similarly, the MP/MH-Seoni section of NH-7 has a 1400-meter elevated corridor, 500-meter two number, 300-meter one number, 120-meter one number, and ten rest numbers ranging from 100-meter to 30-meter. These structures are crucial to minimize the risk of wildlife fatalities on highways and enhance wildlife conservation efforts.
Protected Areas for Wildlife Habitat Preservation
A network of protected areas, including National Parks, Sanctuaries, Conservation Reserves, and Community Reserves, has been created all over the country under the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. The purpose of these protected areas is to conserve wild animals and their habitats.
Handling Human-Wildlife Conflict
The Ministry has issued an advisory on handling human-wildlife conflict to all states. The advisory suggests various measures that may be adopted, including coordinated interdepartmental action, formation of State and district level committees, identification of conflict hotspots, adherence to Standard Operating Procedures, and establishment of rapid response teams.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is taking all necessary steps to protect wildlife and avoid human-animal conflicts. Through its Centrally Sponsored Schemes, advisories, and protected areas, it is working towards wildlife habitat preservation. Physical barriers and guidelines on human-wildlife conflict are also in place, and development activities on National Highways are carefully planned to avoid any negative impact on wildlife habitat.