Mangaluru, Jan 31, 2017: Reports indicate that nearly 20,000 trees located at the base of Western Ghats are likely to be the victims of a National Highway (NH) upgradation project from Addahole to BC Road. The trees located between Addahole and BC Road are expected to be removed to expand existing two lane NH into four lane from Gundya Shiradi to BC Road on NH 48 which has a length of 63 kilometers.
Land acquisition process for Rs 1,260 crore worth project has been completed and NH expansion works are being started by National Highway Authority of India. The forest department officials have also begun identifying the trees to be cut down for the expansion project amid strong protests from the environmental activists.
Environmental activists have said that the project is likely to destroy bio diversity of the area as huge number of trees are expected to cut down for the project. "Two bridges should be constructed to cross Netravati river at Uppinangadi and BC Road along with 14 small bridges and some under passes. The small rivers, Yettinahole, Kempuhole, Kadumanehole, Addahole and others those conjunct with Netravati river are facing huge damage as a result of Addahole-BC Road NH expansion project," according to Dinesh Holla, an environment activist.
Meanwhile, the local people have said that more than 50, 000 trees have been removed from eco-sensitive areas of Western Ghats in the name of Yettinahole project. Now, the national highway expansion project is very likely to destroy ecological balance and rivers including Kepuhole, Yettinahole and other water sources of Western Ghats.
Reacting to the issue, Karnataka State Forest, Environment and Ecology Minister B Ramanath Rai has said, “environment cost is essential for the up-gradation of national highway. The department will try its best to minimise the environmental damage.”