Friday, May 11, 2007

Double lane Nathula road became cause of concern for environmentalists

Gangtok: With the increase of Nathula trade, the government has planned to broaden Nathula road into double lane. According to Border Road Organisation(BRO), The Gangtok-Nathula 64 km long road will be doubled lane by March 2009.

Brigadier M.S.Pillai, Chief Engineer of BRO said, “A budget of Rs. 780 crores has earmarked for the project which is an enhancement of Rs. 480 crores compared to the announcement earlier.” Pillai further told that the road will be broadened in four phases.

In phase one upto 27 km will be stretched from 17th mile to Sherathang; phase two from Sherathang to Nathula border, 5.6 km; phase three from Jawaharlal Nehru Marg to 5th mile, 9.9 Km and the last phase from 5mile to 27th mile, 24 kms.

Regarding BRO’s next plan, Pillai said, the organization has taken in hand the further development of National Highway 31 from Ranipool to Gangtok which was already handed over to national Highway Authority of India under Improvement of Riding quality programme.

He further said, a proposal to expand NH 31 up to Chungthang, North Sikkim is underway. If once it completed that will make the tourist easy and shorter to travel South district, he said.

BRO has also taken the contract of preparation of Detailed Project Reports for improvement of five roads in West Sikkim. But the development of infrastructures such as the broadening of roads is equally becoming the cause of concern for environmentalists.

According a green activist, such infrastructural progresses will definitely result in the development of state’s economy and industries but as well as that will equally effect to environment and wild animals. Of late in Dooars after becoming the broad-gauge line which goes through the Gorumara and Jaldapara wild life sanctuary more than five elephants have been killed in train accidents within a year, he said.