katni: “The extension of the Katni-Singrauli railway line is dangerous for the fauna of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh” | Bhopal News

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BHOPAL: Strong objections are being raised against the expansion of the Katni-Singrauli railway line through the Sanjay-Dubri Tiger Reserve (SDTR) in Madhya Pradesh, citing it as disastrous for tigers, elephants and other endangered wildlife species.
The existing railway line has already killed a tigress and several wild animals, say conservationists who have sent an SOS appeal to the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to protect SDTR by realigning the railway line. railway to circumvent this important tiger reserve and ensure the ecological and conservation integrity of this landscape.
Government of India with copies to Minister of Railways and other senior officials of MoEFCC and Madhya Pradesh Forestry Department.
The 27.5 km stretch of the existing railway line from Katni to Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh passes through the 67 ha area of ​​SDTR’s ‘critical tiger habitat’ and the 5.3 ha of dense forest areas of Sidhi district adjoining the protected area.
According to the letter, the railway line already crosses the identified wildlife corridor in Shahdol district, between Bandhavgarh and Sanjay-Dubri tiger reserves, which has a high presence of tiger, leopard, striped hyena, sloth bear. , Asian wild cat, jungle cat, sambar, spotted deer and many other mammal species.
SDTR covers an area of ​​1674.511 km². This includes Sanjay National Park and Dubri Wildlife Sanctuary as the main or critical tiger habitat (812,581 km2) and forested areas of Sidhi and Shahdol districts as buffer zone (861,930 km2).
It is connected by forest corridors in Shahdol to Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in the west and borders Guru Ghasidas National Park in Chhattisgarh in the south. The Bandhavgarh-SDTR-Guru Ghasidas landscape together constitutes 3,607 km² and is home to around 141 tigers. This landscape is also linked to the Palamau Tiger Reserve in Jharkhand and has the potential to host the growing population of central Indian tigers.
Scientific research has established that central Indian tigers have a high genetic diversity, mainly due to the functionality of existing wildlife corridors.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have also highlighted the significance of this landscape in the All India Tiger Estimate 2018 report, the letter said. Also, it is the only area north of the Narmada River where the gaur, the largest cattle in India, is found.
There are 38 documented (and many unrecorded) wildlife deaths along this route between 2010 and 2020, experts say.
“Between January and December 2020, the presence of tigers and leopards was recorded 315 times in the Dubri and Bastua ranges of SDTR. The presence of tigers and elephants have been documented on both sides of the existing track in the corridor indicating the crossing of the tracks by National Animal and National Heritage Animal of India respectively,” the letter reads.
“Therefore, the plan to double and electrify this existing railway line will lead to an increase in the speed and frequency of trains and is likely to prove even more detrimental to the wildlife in this landscape. It will also require the cutting of 14,187 trees along this stretch and may create permanent barriers for wildlife,” he says.
The talkers say that the proposed expansion (doubling and electrification) of this railway line would not only divide the landscape of the SDTR, but would disconnect all of the aforementioned conservation areas from each other, and could cull wildlife, which would constitute an obstacle to the long-term conservation of tigers, elephants and many other species.
They suggested the ministry bypass this important tiger reserve and ensure the ecological and conservation integrity of this landscape. The existing Katni-Singrauli Railway has already caused many wildlife deaths and is becoming a serious conservation issue.
The conservationists who signed this letter expressed their dismay at the proposed expansion (doubling) and electrification of this line through critical tiger habitat. The letter states: “In our view, this proposed expansion (doubling) and electrification of the current line would bisect a tiger reserve and a crucial forest corridor, which would be very detrimental to tiger conservation efforts and should therefore be avoided. We request that you please raise this conservation issue with Indian Railways and request that they realign the route so that the upgrade can occur outside the SDTR (core and buffer) and thereby avoid damage this precious landscape.”
The letter was signed by leading organizations such as Bombay Natural History Society, Satpuda Foundation, The Corbett Foundation, Conservation Action Trust, Sanctuary Nature Foundation, Tiger Research and Conservation Trust, BAAVAN and Nature Conservation Society Amravati and conservation advocates. renowned fauns such as Dr MK Ranjitsinh, Dr AJT Johnsingh, Dr Raghu Chundawat, Dr Asad Rahmani, Dr Divyabhanusinh Chavda, Nirmal Ghosh and Dr Naveen Pandey.
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