The proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Superexpressway , which will cut down travel time between the two cities from 16 hours to less than 10 hours, may come at an environmental price. For, around 156 hectares of forest land is sought to be diverted for the Igatpuri-Bhiwandi stretch of the Rs.37,270 crore project.
The Igatpuri-Bhiwandi stretch will be within 2 km of Tansa Wildlife sanctuary and 6.5 km of Tungareshwar National Park. The Tansa river, Bhatsa river, Dharna river and Upper Vaitarna reservoir are within 10 km of the proposed road. “We shall not be taking any forest land from the park or sanctuary . Only reserved forest and private forest land will be diverted for the road,“ R Mopalwar, vicechairman, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).
Besides, the expressway will also be within 10 km of Triambakeshwar forest, Anjaneri forest, Devlali Ranges, Kalsubai eco-senstive zone (ESZ) and wildlife sanctuary (WLS) and Nandurmadhweshwar bird sanctuary .
The expressway starts from the outer ring ring road of Nagpur city up to Vadape village on Bhiwandi bypass.Around 84% of the 706.2 km expressway will pass through agricultural cultivated land, 13% through barren land and 0.62% through forest land, states the pre-feasibility report.
Recently, the state cabinet approved a proposal to allow MSRDC to monetise its land for capital expenditure. Monetisation of MSRDC land along the expressway would be done at a later date, Mopalwar added.
Last month, the expert appraisal committee of the union ministry of environment, forests and climate change issued terms of reference for carrying out an environment impact assessment study as well as sought mitigation measures after public consultation. Terms of reference have also been issued for Jalna-Aurangabad and Kopargaon in Ahmednagar district and Sinnar, Igatpuri in Nashik district.