RAILWAY TRACK ALONG DEEPOR BEEL
GUWAHATI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Railway authorities to adopt a long-term measure for ‘freeing the elephant corridor from the railway tracks’ near Deepor Beel in Guwahati by constructing either an ‘overpass or an underpass’, suitably designed by experts. The NGT, however, says that the proposal for the realignment of the railway track near Deepor Beel does not appear logical.
Earlier, the Railways submitted a feasibility study for the construction of a (i) km 163/4 to 172/0 viaduct and (ii) tunnels for laying railway tracks between level-crossing gate no NN-273 and NN-274 as suggested by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun. The WII was engaged for the purpose by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Chief Wildlife Warden (PCCF&CWW), Assam. The WII suggested to explore (i) the possibility of a new alignment of railway track from Azara station near Pillar No. 163/4 to the level-crossing near Assam Engineering College at Pillar No. 172/0, (ii) the possibility of a straight alignment between these two pillars along the northern boundary of Deepor Beel through a viaduct and (iii) the possibility of a tunnel under the hilly stretch between Gate No. 273 and 274.
The NGT, however, observes that the primary reason for issuing the direction to the Railways is to take appropriate measures to ensure that the elephant corridor through which the existing railway track passes is suitably protected and to ensure unhindered passage of elephants. “The proposal for realignment, therefore, does not appear to be logical,” the NGT said in its order.
On the merits of WII recommendations, the NGT feels it is sufficient for the moment to direct the Railway authorities to take a long-term measure for freeing the elephant corridor from the railway tracks by adopting either an overpass or an underpass suitably designed by experts.
The NGT also said that as a temporary measure, direction had already been issued earlier to reduce the speed of the trains while passing the elephant corridor.
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