BY DEBAJYOTI CHAKRABORTY
KOLKATA, 5 SEPTEMBER 2022
The construction work of the twelve kilometres stretch of the Rs.12,000 crores Delhi – Saharanpur -Dehradun Economic Corridor will pass through the eco-sensitive zone of the Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand, and is touted as the longest elevated wildlife corridor in Asia and the first ever in India.
Rajaji National Park is the Elephant and second Tiger Reserve of the state of Uttarakhand. Nitin Gadkari, union minister of highways has broken the news and has also shared the photographs of the undergoing construction work of the corridor.
The elevated expressway stretch will help unrestricted movement of the elephants, tigers and other wild animals of the Rajaji national Park below the stretch and will avoid not only future human – animal conflicts but will also protect the animals roaming in the wild from road accidents.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of this most ambitious project in the country under the Bharatmala Pariyojana last December. The project is expected to be completed within March 2024.
“ Delhi- Dehradun Expressway Project is the Asia’s longest (12 Kms)elevated wildlife corridor and is under construction.It will protect wildlife and also will further reduce Delhi- Dehradun travel time by around 2.5 hours,”according to a recent tweet by the information and broadcasting ministry.
The upcoming Green Corridor will connect Ganeshpur-Mohand in Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh with Dehradun in Uttarakhand. It will run along the stretch of National Highway 72A that sits between the Shivalik forest range known for abundant wildlife, including elephants. One side of the forest houses the Rajaji Tiger Reserve.
While the existing two-lane highway will be used to allow the free movement or migration of animals. It runs along the Monsoon River, which is next to the Rajaji Tiger Reserve.
“ The old highway will provide free passage to the wild animals, while the new elevated state of the ary corridor will provide seamless and fast movement of vehicular traffic,” says a project constant, SBS Negi.
“Within the 12 kilometres stretch there is also a 340 metre Daat Kali Tunnel. The tunnel intends to protect the surrounding wildlife,” union minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari tweeted.
Mr. Nitin Gadkari further tweeted that instead of the current six and half hours the travel time will become two hours and 50 minutes and the distance between the two cities will also reduce from 235 kilometres to 210 kilometres.
At present in the existing two lane NH72A highway, due to heavy congestion and traffic jams in the 12 kilometres stretch between Mohand and Daat Kali Temple it takes around half an hour to even two hours to pass.
“Time matters for tourists and the elevated wildlife corridor project will definitely prove to be a game-changer for the tourism industry in the hills and will boost the tourism sector immensely ,” said Anil Taneja, regional director of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
ABOUT RAJAJI NATIONAL PARK WILDLIFE:
Rajaji National Park is an Indian national park and tiger reserve ( about 40 wild cats) that encompasses the Shivaliks, near the foothills of the Himalayas. It is a habitat of over 600 wild elephants also.
More than 50 species of mammals including the highly endangered Asian Elephant and Tiger are found in the Park. Besides tiger, leopard, Himalayan Black bear, sloth bear, Civet, Marten, Jackal, Hyena etc. Goral (Mountain Goat) – a mammals of the lower Himalayas abound in the precipitous slopes of the Shivalik hills. Three species of deer – Sambar, Spotted Deer (Cheetal) and Barking Deer (Kakar) and animals like Wild Boar, Nilgai. Langoor, Black Naped Hare, Jungle cat etc are also found.
Over 300 species of birds are reported from Rajaji National Park, making it an important birding area in the Country. Of these, about 90 species are migrants, which include Pochards, Gulls, Mallards, Teals and Shell Ducks that visit the water bodies of Bhimgoda and Virbhadra Barrage and wetlands of river Ganga. The resident Birds include Peafowl, Jungle Fowl, different Parakeets, Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, Thrushes, Warblers, Barbets and Finches etc. The Great Pied Hornbill occupies a place of pride among the different Hornbills found in the Park.
Staying on weekends inside the Rajaji Tiger Reserve provides an opportunity for experiencing and appreciating the bounties of nature. Nature walk, trekking, wildlife sighting, bird watching, nature photography, learning local culture etc are few things to look for while staying at our Camps/Resorts.
Best time to visit:
The park remains open from 15th November to 15th June. The weather remains cool and generally dry during this time of the year. Visitation inside the Park is allowed only into the four designated tourism zones of Motichur, Asarori, Ranipur and Chilla. They can also stay in the Forest Rest House of Chilla, Motichur, Kunao, Ranipur Asarori and Satyanarayan after prior bookings.
There are not too many options available for comfortable stay in Rajaji National Park. Comfortable Eco-friendly cottages in wilderness are available at Wild Brook Retreat near Gohari range of Rajaji National Park, 24 Km. from Haridwar. The Palm Resort, Satyanarayan FRH are also approachable from Haridwar-Rishikesh road with all basic facilities at the centers.
How to Reach:
To reach Rajaji National Park from most parts of the country is quite easy. It is only 265 km from Delhi through the NH-58 and there are convenient overnight trains from Delhi to Haridwar and Dehradun, from where the visitor can visit the park. Visitors can also fly to Jolly Grant Airport, which is located at a distance of about 30 km from Motichur gate of the Park.
Delhi-Dehradun Expressway Project
🔷Asia’s longest elevated wildlife corridor (12 kms) under construction
🔷To Protect wildlife & reduce travel time too
🔷Travel time between Dehradun-Delhi to come down to 2.5 hrs pic.twitter.com/antXKvv1By
— Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (@MIB_India) August 27, 2022
दिल्ली – देहरादून एक्सप्रेस-वे पर काम जल्द ही शुरू होगा। इससे दोनों शहरों की दूरी 235 km से घटकर 210 km रह जाएगी और 6.5 घंटे की जगह मात्र 2.5 घंटे में पहुँचा जा सकेगा। यह देश का पहला ऐसा हाइवे होगा जिसमें वन्यजीव संरक्षण के लिए 12 km लंबा एलिवेटेड कॉरिडोर बनेगा। #PragatiKaHighway pic.twitter.com/MwXciMcnvS
— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) February 11, 2021
Breakthrough achieved on Delhi-Dehradun Expressway project.
The last 20km stretch passes through eco-sensitive zone of Raja Ji National Park where Asia’s longest elevated wildlife corridor (12km) is being constructed that includes 340m Daat Kali tunnel.#PragatiKaHighway pic.twitter.com/cby1EmzwiJ
— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) August 16, 2022