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Hindustan Times has reported that to protect wildlife in Kaziranga’s National Park from being hit by vehicles, the Centre plans to construct a 35-kilometre flyover that will span over National Highway 37, which currently passes through the park. It will be split into three segments, with the first expected to be around 18 kilometres. Once complete, it could emerge as India’s longest flyover.
Natural animal corridors intersect with NH-37 inside Kaziranga, and collisions with motorists are common, especially during the monsoons. Forest denizens like elephants, swamp deer, tigers and the famed one-horned rhino are known to flee to areas with higher ground during the park’s infamous annual flooding. When they cross NH37 to reach places like the nearby Karbi Anglong district, the chances of an accident rise significantly.
The move is currently being called a win-win situation. Since the existing highway can’t be diverted, the flyover will benefit motorists who don’t want to slow down inside the park, or simply wish to bypass it. Animals, in turn, get safe passage. However, noise and pollution is inevitable during the construction process. The presence of several workers day and night, along with their heavy machinery, is a given. This increase in human interference is bound to have a negative effect on the park’s inhabitants.
Kaziranga’s director P Sivakumar revealed that the flyover’s proposed alignment was prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India. The venture, which is in coordination with the National Green Tribunal, multiple wildlife authorities and the Assam government, is still in the planning phase, as the National Highways Authority of India prepares its detailed project report. Construction is expected to start next year.
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