1,436 trees in Palghar need to be cut for Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train

Updated: Nov 08, 2019, 09:49 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Proposal sent to Environment Ministry for realignment of power grids running through Protected Forest and Reserved Forest area.

The power lines to be realigned are located in the villages of Shigaon, Valva and Betegaon in Palghar district. File pic
The power lines to be realigned are located in the villages of Shigaon, Valva and Betegaon in Palghar district. File pic

A proposal that affects 22 hectares of green cover in Palghar to realign electricity transmission lines for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, pegged as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project, has been sent to the green ministry. A site visit in September by the Forest Department concluded that 1,436 trees will have to be cut for the realignment.

The Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is likely to take a decision soon.

On October 4, the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd submitted a proposal to the MoEF&CC for Forest Clearance to realign power lines spread across 22.6944 hectares of Reserved Forest and Protected Forest land in Palghar district.

The realignment of the five 400KV and 220KV transmission lines is necessary to facilitate the Right of Way (RoW) for the Ahmadabad-Mumbai Bullet Train Corridor, being built by the National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL), authorities claim.

The forest falls under the Dahanu Forest Division and lies in the Valva, Shigaon and Betegaon villages in Plaghar district.

"There will not be incremental negative effect to the general ecosystem. This project is for infrastructure development and public use and the project proponent is ready to bear all government levies and hence the proposal is being recommended for approval for diverting the required forest land under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980," V J Bhise, Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) said in his inspection report.

Environmentalists have expressed anger over the plans. Environmentalist Bhushan Bhoir, who resides in Palghar district said, "Palghar district is losing green cover at a rampant pace and the need of the hour is to protect the existing forests. Already, pollution is a major issue in Boisar. God knows how many more projects authorities are planning at the cost of the environment and biodiversity."

Bhoir also questioned the proposal sent that says hares and foxes have been spotted in the forest areas proposed for the reallocation.

"I think the Forest Department has not done the survey properly. According to locals, many birds, the small Indian Civet, leopards and even pangolins have been sighted in the area. An independent Environment Impact Assessment study should be undertaken." added Bhoir.

5 - No. of power lines to be realigned

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