The proposed shifting of Kherki Daula toll plaza down the NH-8 has stirred up a fresh controversy, with environmentalists raising concerns over a new site in Kukrola near Panchgaon suggested by some in the authorities recently.
Initially, the government had planned to shift the toll plaza to Sehrawan, about 11km from Kherki Daula, prompting local villagers to move the National Green Tribunal (NGT) fearing destruction of a wildlife corridor in the area. The case is still pending in the green tribunal and thus, even after a year, the government could not hand over the required land to NHAI for building a new toll plaza.
Unable to allay environmental concerns raised by local villagers and activists, officials recently proposed a new site, 2km from Sehrawan down the NH-8, for shifting the toll plaza near Panchgaon.
However, even before the government could take a concrete step in that direction, environmentalists red-flagged the plan and threatened to move court if the authorities eventually zeroed in on the Panchgaon site.
According to environmentalists, the new site is also ecologically sensitive, with dense forests of the Aravalis running parallel to it. “There is no doubt that the toll plaza needs to be removed from its present location in Kheri Daula. But it should be shifted to a location where it does not cause any further social, economic and environmental damage. Like Sehrawan, Panchgaon is also part of a wildlife corridor. The government is just befooling people by proposing to move the toll a couple of kilometres away. It will still cause damage to the Aravalis,” said Krishan Kumar Yadav, a former chief town planner and environmentalist.
“Further, there are several water bodies and ponds in the area. Any kind of construction or road widening work in the area will destroy the water bodies as well the natural drainage system,” he argued. The greens claimed leopards had been sighted in the area on several occasions over the past two years. “There are people who have seen leopards in the area, just behind the hills. Most recently, some residents reported a leopard sighting in the area early in the morning, two days ago,” said K Dhanwantri from School of Architecture and Planning of Amity University Manesar.
Local residents said the shift would result in round-the-clock congestion. “As the new site is very close to the junction of NH-8 and KMP Expressway, there is already heavy movement of traffic. Shifting the toll plaza to the area will make it a major bottleneck,” said Ramesh Chandra, a resident of Kukrola.
Source : TOI