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India plans to build road networks along the Indo-Nepal border that connect SSB outposts

According to a Union home ministry order, roads will be constructed in forests along the Indo-Nepal border to connect all Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) outposts parallel to ‘No Man’s Land’, a senior forest official said on Wednesday. Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary divisional forest officer Akash Deep Badhawan said that 10-metre high flyovers will be built and roads constructed by acquiring ‘gram samaj’ land adjacent to the forests to keep traffic away from the forests.

The Union home ministry has instructed the construction of roads in forest areas parallel to the Indo-Nepal border in ‘No Man’s Land’. According to Badhawan, the roads will pass through all the border posts of the SSB bordering Nepal in order to ensure national security. ‘In the Katarniaghat forest, 16 SSB outposts are located along India’s 551-km border with Nepal’, he said.

Moreover, hundreds of hectares of the forest and surrounding land will be used for the construction of roads, including 45 hectares of forest in the Katarniaghat division of Bahraich and 138 hectares in the Sohelwa forest in Balrampur. He also said that roads would be built across the ‘Khata Corridor’ connecting the Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary to Nepal’s Royal Bardia National Park.

This area holds unique wildlife such as the rare Indian rhinoceros. It is also home to African elephants and tigers. The Khata Corridor is an area of special importance to both countries because of its wildlife and wildlife habitat. On the expressway linking Delhi with Meerut and Dehradun, elevated flyovers were constructed over the roads that pass through the Kanha and Panna national parks in Madhya Pradesh. Currently, there is a plan to build these flyovers in the Terai forests of Uttar Pradesh as well.

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Government officials want wildlife to move freely under these flyovers, while security personnel, paramilitary forces, and forest personnel can patrol unhindered on the flyovers, Badhawan said. ‘The central government has sent a high-powered committee comprising experts from the Wildlife Institute of India to conduct a survey in Uttar Pradesh in order to minimize the potential environmental impact of vehicular and public movement during and after road construction’, he said. ‘During the development being done for the security of the nation, this committee will look for ways to protect forests and wildlife’, he added.


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