A group of environmentalists have decided to come together and hold a protest at the Freedom Park in Bengaluru on January 5 to bring pressure on the Karnataka government to immediately stop the widening works on the NH4A Goa-Belagavi national highway.
Speaking to the media Suresh Heblikar said that more than 30,000 trees will be felled in the Western Ghats for the said widening project. The forests are home to peacocks, Gaurs, Elephants, tigers, Bears and more.
Western Ghats forests in south India are very ancient, nearly 90 million years old. They are a source of very important avenues for the population of south India. Contractors have started felling trees and thousands of trees have been cut down in the name of development works.
Heblikar added, these forests bring a lot of rain and hence are a source of water streams which must be protected.
Sachin Patil Warden wildlife said NHAI had planned to widen the road to 45 mtrs but due to the opposition it has now been reduced to 26 mtrs in the Khanapur to Goa forest range.
He said that biologists and environmental experts have opined that these are very pristine forests with a variety of birds, butterflies, black panthers, and Wroughton’s free-tailed bats. These forests also induce a lot of rain, and hence there are numerous streams and rivers. These must be protected and preserved not only for academic interests but for the livelihood of millions of people.