NHAI Violates Forest Conservation Act With Work On NH7 Near Mansingh-Deo Wildlife Sanctuary

The Highway widening work on NH7 near Mansar
Satpuda Foundation

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is performing road widening work on NH7 near Mansingh-Deo Wildlife Sanctuary, as part of a 117.058 km project from Deolapar on the Madhya Pradesh — Maharashtra border. While most of the work is complete, it is yet to get clearance in the 39 km patch from the Deolapar side. Yet, after completing the work near Tekadi and Mansar, NHAI has started road and canal work near Chorbahuli. This, wildlife experts say, is in violation of the FCA. The environment ministry’s guideline on FCA regarding projects involving both forest and non-forest land, is very clear and states and “If a project involves forest as well as non-forest land, work should not be started on non-forest land until approval of the central government for release of forest land under the FCA has been given.”. So without the ministry’s approval, the NHAI concessionaire Oriental Nagpur Bypass Construction Private Limited has started work in non-forest land close to Mansinghdeo. The project manager of Oriental has denied that four laning work between Mansar and Chorbahuli has started. The NHAI is said to be creating a ‘fait accompli’ situation by completing the road till Pench in Madhya Pradesh and Chorbahuli from the Maharashtra side. The four laning is said to break wildlife corridor contiguity of various compartments. NHAI project director has said that they don’t plan to damage any forest compartments and that a fresh proposal will be sent to the MOEF soon.

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