Indian Railways has sought Cabinet Secretary’s intervention to remove the hurdles posed by the Environment Ministry in the ambitious 135 km long Gevra Road-Pendra Road rail link project in Chhattisgarh.
The railways is executing a double line rail project between Gevra Road and Pendra Road in Chhattisgarh through a SPV (special purpose vehicle).
The Rs 8,000 crore project is crucial for evacuating increased quantities of coal from high-yielding open-cast mines of its Chhattisgarh-based subsidiary South Eastern Coalfields (SECL). Besides coal evacuation, the rail link is also being considered important for the development of backward and unconnected areas of Chhattisgarh.
Initially, chief conservator of Bilaspur had recommended eight underpass/overpasses of 25 metre to 50 metre length with 7 metre height across the proposed line to facilitate movement of elephants.
However, the Environment Ministry while giving forest clearance has stipulated that underpasses of 300 metre should be constructed at 22 locations.
Implementation of these recommendations will have adverse repercussion on project timelines due to acquisition of additional 12 hectares of forest land and cutting of about 5,000 trees and redesigning of alignment in about 70 km length, the railways has maintained.
Seeking reduction of width of elephant underpasses and overpasses to 50 metre for smooth movement of wildlife, the railways has written to Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba to sort out the issue.