CHANDRAPUR: Wildlife NGO Eco-Pro has planned a 40-km-long march on May 31 on Mul-Chandrapur road that has turned into a death trap for wild animals due to widening of the road after being given national highway status. Many other wildlife organizations are likely to join the march.
The agitation is the outcome of discontent brewing among the NGOs and wildlife activists after a large number of animal deaths were reported from Chandrapur-Mul patch of the highway in the recent past. Union government had declared Chandrapur-Mul-Gadchiroli road as highway No. 930 and construction, widening and strengthening work of the road is underway for the last many months.
The Chandrapur-Mul stretch of the highway has witnessed several hit-and-run accidents in which wild animals were killed or injured as the authorities are carrying out road widening work on the road passing through the eco-sensitive zone of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve without planning mitigation measures.
At present construction of the road is underway and traffic is allowed only on one side at places. Heavy vehicles passing on the newly strengthened and widened road run at breakneck speed and wild animals crossing the road are being hit on a daily basis. The entire forest stretch from Chandrapur to Mul serves as critical wildlife corridor that connects TATR to South Indravati Tiger Project and forests in Telangana.
Eco-Pro has stressed on taking up mitigation measures and building underpasses and overpasses on the road stretch having forest on either side. Eco-Pro president, Bandu Dhotre, claimed that five large animals including two bears and a spotted deer have died, while a leopard and a spotted deer was injured within a span of 10 days this month on Chandrapur-Mul road. He said Eco-Pro will take out the long march from Mul to Chandrapur to press the demand for mitigation measures. A memorandum to this effect was submitted to CCF, Chandrapur, Vijay Shelke, and field director and CCF, TATR, Mukul Trivedi, on Tuesday.