While thousands of trees are at the risk of being chopped for the construction of India’s longest Expressway measuring 701 km between Mumbai and Nagpur, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is exploring another option by studying whether the trees, rather than being axed or transplanted, could be shifted from one location to another. The process is also known as translocating of trees that are vital for the environment.
The MSRDC is currently carrying out a tree count survey on the whole alignment, however, the rough estimation of trees that will be affected due to the Expressway would be more than 15,000. As per report in July 2017, about how 5,309 trees will have to be felled for the construction of the Expressway on the 155-km stretch between Jalna district in Marathwada to Aurangabad. While for the rest of the stretches the tree count is currently ongoing.
A MSRDC official, said, “We are going to explore the translocating option wherein a majority of the trees that are old and small will be translocated. The process will be costly but it is being explored after it was recently used in Lucknow, Pune and Hyderabad for the construction of Metro corridors.”
Between Bhiwandi and Nagpur, 84 per cent of the required land for the Expressway construction is prime agricultural land while 13 per cent is uncultivated. The remaining 1.92 per cent is forest land.
Construction work on the Rs 46,000 crore project is expected to start by the end of 2018 for which land acquisition is currently ongoing. The Expressway is the longest proposed in India and is expected to shorten travel time between Mumbai and Nagpur to 8 to 10 hours from the current 17 to 18 hours.