In a major blow to the efforts of conservationists, the National Board for Wildlife gave a final clearance to the Ganeshpur-Dehradun Road (NH72A), which is an extension of the Delhi-Dehradun expressway. The project required wildlife clearance as a 19.78-km-long stretch of the road – from Ganeshpur (in UP) to Dehradun – will pass through the eco-sensitive zone of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve and the Shivalik Elephant Reserve.
Even though barely 3.6 km of the expressway will be in Uttarakhand, the Himalayan state will have to forego over 2,500 British-era Sal trees and around 10 hectares of reserve forest area which is a part of the eco-sensitive zone of Rajaji. UP, which will have around 16 km of the expressway, will give away over 47 hectares of its forest land which is a part of the Shivalik Elephant Reserve too.
Scientists, too, say that any type of tree removal from the Shivaliks will lead to erosion and impact the overall ecosystem services being given by these huge Sal trees.