Uttarakhand News

Good News! New forest to grow on excavated debris during Karnprayag railway project

by Abhay Aswal
Sep 04, 2017

The ambitious Rishikesh-Karnprayag railway project in Uttarakhand will set an example for environmental conservation in years to come. During the laying down of 126-km of railway line from Rishikesh to Karnprayag (Simli), around 18 crore tonnes (1 crore cubic metre) of debris will be excavated to build tunnels. However, the forest department is planning to put that debris into good use – by growing a forest over it. A plan has been proposed for the proper disposal of the excavated debris.┬áThis will make sure that the debris doesn’t become a threat of any kind to the environment and people.

Representational Image (Source)

According to the proposed plan, 31 special dumping sites will be constructed all along the railway track where the debris will be collected and plantation will be done to turn it into a flourishing forest. How development and environment conservation can go hand in hand, this railway project will set an benchmark – according to the officials at Central Forest Ministry.┬áThe Railway Development Corporation have also prepared proposal for acquiring 563 hectares of forest land from the forest department.

Karnprayag Railway Project: At a glance

The project proposes 126-km railway line from Rishikesh to Karnprayag in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. Most of the railway track will pass through underground tunnels constructed from excavating hills along the route. Only major destinations and train stations will be above ground. With only 18,000 trees to be axed for the project, having most of the track route underground has ensured minimum number of trees will meet their fate.

The real issue, however, is the proper reallocation of 18 crore tonnes of debris that will be excavated during tunneling. Think tanks at Railway Development Corporation, IIT Roorkee and Forest and Environment Ministry brainstormed upon the issue to minimum adverse environmental impacts. The geographical experts from IIT Roorkee have proposed 31 dumping sites of various structures according to the topology of a particular region. After the construction of platform and other infrastructures with 56-60 lakh tonnes of debris, the remaining will be transferred to dumping sites which will be turned into a forest.

Inputs from Amar Ujala

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