Proposed 6-Lane Elevated Highway through Bangalore’s Bannerghatta National Park

Autoraiders Encourage Safe Driving on Indian Highways Amidst Bannerghatta National Park Highway Proposal Debate
Balancing Infrastructure Development and Environmental Conservation: The Proposed 6-Lane Elevated Highway through Bangalore’s Bannerghatta National Park

The proposal to construct a 6-lane elevated highway through Bangalore’s Bannerghatta National Park has ignited a significant debate, with environmentalists expressing concerns about its potential impacts on wildlife and habitat. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) aims to build a flyover along a 3.85 km stretch as part of the Satellite Township Ring Road (STRR) project. Despite approval from the National Board of Wildlife, the project has faced strong opposition due to its implications for the biodiversity hotspot, which is home to endangered Asian elephants, tigers, and various other species.

Project Overview:

The NHAI's plan involves constructing a flyover connecting Bannerghatta and Jigani Road, passing through 27.45 acres of the national park’s core area and 14 acres of the buffer zone. The primary objective is to address traffic congestion by linking seven towns around Bangalore. Construction is slated for completion by December 2025.

Environmental Concerns:

Conservationists have voiced concerns about the potential adverse effects on wildlife and habitat. The narrow protected area of Bannerghatta National Park, coupled with the highway construction, threatens to reduce available elephant habitat and escalate human-wildlife conflicts, particularly with the park's 100 resident elephants. Moreover, the project involves the felling of 1,288 trees in prime elephant terrain. While the NHAI has proposed noise barriers and restricted construction hours, activists argue that exploring alternative routes avoiding the core protected area would be more prudent.

State Government Stand:

The Karnataka state government is currently reviewing the proposal and seeking additional information. The Forest Minister aims to strike a balance between addressing traffic needs and protecting the park's ecological integrity. While the NHAI asserts that mitigation measures will be informed by scientific studies of wildlife patterns, the government remains open to exploring alternative solutions.

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