The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has given clearance for the completion of a road construction project under the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) from Kirchi to Seoj Dhar in Udhampur district of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. This development project will benefit 661 people living here.
A small cluster amid the hills surrounded by forests, including a wildlife sanctuary, Seoj Dhar has had no all-weather road and was included in the latest phase of the PMGSY.
The only problem was that some stretches of the 31.05-km road, taking off at Kirchi village, were to pass through forest/wildlife areas.
“Forest/wildlife cannot be avoided as the alignment proposed is the only feasible vital connectivity to the villages,” said the ‘Justification letter for forest/wildlife and diversion’ when the proposal was sent for clearance from the NBWL as nearly 7 hectare of Ramnagar Wildlife Sanctuary was needed for the road.
Those 661 people have a reason to feel happy now.
The NBWL, an experts’ body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), on Friday cleared the proposal for this road.
This was not the only road project as four more similar road projects connecting remote areas in the border regions were cleared at the 65th meeting of the NBWL Standing Committee.
“The NBWL Standing Committee recommended five road proposals under the PMGSY in order to promote first-time connectivity to villages in Jammu & Kashmir,” tweeted Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, soon after the meeting.
A source from the meeting said the villages are all located in remotest of areas and the road connectivity is of utmost priority for the people in these border districts.
Yadav had also recommended that the states or the UTs should suggest mitigation measures while proposing developmental projects within protected areas and eco-sensitive zones based on site specific requirements.
The meeting chaired by Yadav also cleared some proposals in Ladakh from the frontier areas that are ecologically sensitive. The meeting cleared three proposals for drinking water supply in Karnataka, Uttarakhand, and Jammu & Kashmir.