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food for thought

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  3 Oct 2015 12:00 AM GMT

A tiol highway connecting upper and lower Assam passes through Kaziranga tiol Park. This stretch of NH-37 has long been deadly for animals crossing over from the park to Karbi hills, particularly during floods. How to stop these animal deaths is something the Assam government has not been able to figure out for all these years. Recently the tiol Green Tribul (NGT) again criticised the State government for delay in preparing a project report on how to end the carge. Dispur was directed to prepare this report in April this year, but it keeps dragging its feet over the issue. Two years back during a hearing, the tribul was shocked at pictures of animals mowed down by vehicles on the highway. It had then pulled up the Assam government over ‘ruthless killing’ of various animal species by allowing heavy traffic movement on this NH-37 stretch. The NGT had also asked Dispur to set up speed barriers and automatic cameras as well impose fines to check rash driving; it now wants to know whether these measures are working or not. As vehicles moving at high speeds keep knocking down wild animals on the highway, Dispur and New Delhi continue blaming and passing the buck to each other. But people driving across Kaziranga or other wildlife zones should also take responsibility. Because such highways make it possible to move fast from one place to another, motorists do not care what lies in between on either side of the road. They become blind to the living landscape around them until some animal tragically comes under their wheels. But there is great awareness about devising safe animal corridors coupled with roadside fencing in countries across Europe, America and some other parts of the world. Overpasses built above highways as well as culverts, underpasses and tunnels below highways allow bear, deer, frog, sil and other animals to cross through unharmed. Ropeways strung between trees help animals like squirrels to pass over busy roads. There are even ‘bat bridges’ to help bats use their sor to cross roads at sufficient heights and avoid traffic. Special ladders, elevators and fishways are built to help fish over barriers like locks and dams. So for starters, motorists here can at least ease up on the accelerator near wildlife areas and drink in the surrounding tural beauty.

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