Large-scale infrastructure projects marks the growth and progress of cities that they touch. But, sometimes, the construction and commissioning can adversely damage the environment. In case of the MAHSR corridor, special efforts have been made to ensure that some of the ecological hotspots for wildlife in north-western Maharashtra – Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary (TWS) – where the alignment for the high-speed train will be touching, are not adversely impacted due to this project.
Due to its proximity with Mumbai, this area have been selected for three major infrastructure projects coming up in the region – the MAHSR corridor, a Diva-Panvel railway line, a DFCCIL track and a future expressway planned by MMRDA – all on a 80-100 metre path between SGNP and TWS.
Even as the development is a good news for people living in cities surrounding this area, the large-scale construction would cause a major dislocation for wildlife. After several rounds of deliberation between the various stakeholders, a decision was taken to create an animal corridor – with an underpass and overpass – which will offer a smooth passage for movement of wildlife in the affected areas. The overpass, with a width of 30 metres, will come up over the existing Diva – Vasai Line, proposed DFCCIL line and PWD road and will be below the MAHSR line and MMC viaduct. Its design will match the natural vegetation of the surrounding areas and elements like rocks, logs and water bodies will be added to make the animals feel at home.
The WOP entry and exits are entirely within SGNP and TWLS boundaries with adequate funneling and guided fencing of at least 3-meter height with an additional top portion (0.5 meter) bent inwards to ensure animals do not jump over it. Restrictions will be imposed on the use of heavy lighting in the area and high-quality noise barriers will be erected so as to ensure that the levels stay within safe ambient limits for the animals.
The wildlife corridor/WOP shall also have net connected CCTV surveillance provisions for its entire section from entry and exit sides with monitoring mechanism from respective control rooms of the protected areas involved.
The approval for Animal Passage corridor proposed to be constructed between Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary was granted vide letter dated 03/02/2021 by O/o Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Maharashtra State. The approved plan has been shared with implementing agency, DFCCIL.
Graphical representation of Wildlife Animal Corridor
Surface View of Wildlife Animal Corridor