Ranchi: Chief minister Hemant Soren’s directive to the Jharkhand State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) during the February 3 meeting to look for measures to mitigate damage to the core and buffer areas of Koderma Wildlife Sanctuary due to the National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) proposed expansion of a 16km stretch of NH-31, which connects Barhi in Hazaribag to Guwahati in Assam, has disappeared from the minutes of the meeting, environment conservationists in the state claimed.
The minutes of the February 3 meeting were made public in April, when the environment conservationists noticed that ‘some of the vital points were missing’.
Indrajeet Samanta, a Koderma-based environment conservationist, claimed, “The SBWL had rejected a proposal by NHAI — submitted towards the end of last year — to divert 62 hectares of forest land for the expansion of the NH-31’s 16-km stretch connecting Koderma and Meghatari in Jharkhand into a four-lane stretch. It directed the NHAI to build an elevated road to minimise the felling of trees and impact on the sanctuary. But the NHAI said they do not have the technical expertise to construct an elevated road. Then, the CM (who is also the chairman of SBWL) directed the SBWL to form a committee to look for alternative measures to minimise the use of the sanctuary’s land. But that part is missing from the SBWL’s minutes. Instead, the minutes state that a committee was to be formed to ascertain if the elevated road is required.”
“Endangered species lose their lives on the national highways at Barhi and Koderma regularly after being hit by vehicles,” he added.
S K Mahto, a member of the SBWL and curator of the Tata Zoo, said the minutes of the meeting were not clear. “There are some discrepancies. Key instructions are missing..”





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