Maharashtra’s upcoming Rs 55,000-crore prosperity corridor, India’s much-touted longest and fastest super communication highway between Mumbai and Nagpur named after Balasaheb Thackeray, will have thick plantation on either side but minus 13 fruit-bearing plant varieties. The first 520km stretch may be commissioned in a few months.
A communique by the office of MSRDC minister Eknath Shinde stated that they will not plant fruit-bearing trees such mango, orange, dates, cashew and jamun along the 700km super expressway. This, sources said, was mainly to avoid attracting animals such as monkeys, and birds that may get crushed under the wheels, and thus disturb their habitat.
Wildlife Institute of India is helping the administration create a highway ecosystem.
The planting of 13 types of fruit trees that attract wildlife has been prohibited. On both sides, 11.3 lakh trees will be planted. Water will be supplied through drip irrigation and other internal sources powered by solar pumps in areas with little rainfall. Tree-planting will help alleviate effects of global warming and climate change. After plantation, they will be looked after for five years, the release said.
The highway is being designed to avoid disturbing animal activity in surrounding areas. There are 96 wildlife structures, which include seven overpass bridges, 89 underpasses, box culverts, and a few bridges, being created to facilitate passage of wildlife around Samruddhi Mahamarg. The cost of safeguarding wildlife is projected to be over Rs 326 crore. The highway will traverse through 10 districts, six talukas, and 392 villages, covering the distance between Nagpur-Mumbai in eight hours, allowing vehicles to travel at a speed of 150kph. The distance is now covered in 16 hours.