100 signatures reached
To: Narendra Modi, Chairman of National Board of Wildlife, India
Railway of Doom: Let's save the Western Ghats
Don’t go ahead with the Hubballi-Ankola rail line
Why is this important?
A project that environmentalists have been opposing for decades - The Hubbali-Ankola rail line was given a go-ahead by CM Yediyurappa on the 21st of March ironically coinciding with World Forests Day. This decision means the eradication of forest land up to 727 hectares, with a track that cuts through 80% of the Western Ghats.
A plan that been rejected from its inception in 1997- till the present, the Hubballi-Ankola railway is slated to run from Hubballi in Dharwad district to Ankola in Uttara Kannada district over a distance of 168 km, cutting through dense forests of the Western Ghats. The railway track is proposed to be laid in two biodiversity hotspots – the Kali Tiger Reserve and Bedthi Conservation Reserve. A conservative number of 2.2 lakh trees at least, will be lost to this project.
According to a National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) report on the project, the forests through which the railway line cuts, supports 29 species of mammals, 256 species of birds, 8 species of reptiles, and 50 species of butterflies. The majority of the mammals are in the IUCN red list and also protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1972. The NTCA was also not the only environmental body to object to this disastrous plan, the National Board for Wildlife and the Central Empowered Committee also rejected these plans.
But why is the National Board of Wildlife still mum on going ahead with these plans? We as citizens need to speak out against this atrocious project, which is not only harmful to all the living beings in the Ghat’s but also to the taxpayer’s money. This rail line might soon be defunct with the projected decline in mining activity in the region, there is also an ADB-funded road that is underutilized near this area. This makes rail line an exercise in futility that will result in cruel harm to our environment and the ecosystems of many animals.
While the line has approval from the State board, it is still not too late. It must be approved by the National Board for Wildlife to continue, let’s make sure that the buck stops there. We cannot allow this to happen under our watch! Join this to petition the Chairman of NBWL to scrap this project.