The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has written to the Ministry of Railways to take into consideration not only tiger-bearing areas but also tiger corridors while planning infrastructure projects.
NTCA member secretary Anup Kumar Nayak in a letter to chairperson Railway Board, Vinod Kumar Yadav said in addition to the tiger reserves, the NTCA has already mapped out 32 major reserves at the macro level, which are available in the public domain and uploaded on its website.
The letter, sent earlier this year under the subject, “Promoting efficient, smart and green rail infrastructure and minimising its impacts on biodiversity/ecosystem functions in tiger landscapes” highlights that there are “tiger corridors delineated in adjoining areas as part of the Tiger Conservation Plans (TCPs) of the tiger reserves”.
Pointing out that there are 50 tiger reserves in 18 tiger-range States with a coverage of 7,2749. 20 sq. km. ( 2.21 % of the country geographical area), the NTCA said for infrastructure development the statutory role of the NTCA has been outlined under various Sections of the Wildlife (Protection ) Act, 1972.
“Therefore, it is kindly requested to inform the railway authorities to take into consideration the above-mentioned tiger-bearing areas, while planning for the development of green infrastructure projects for promoting/development of green rail infrastructures,” the letter said.
As per the information made public by the NTCA, three tiger corridors are located in the Shivalik Hills and the Gangetic plain landscape, 11 in the central Indian and eastern ghat landscape, eight in the western ghat and 10 in the northeastern landscape.
Mr. Nayak told The Hindu : “It is not that railways are not taking any steps. But there has been deaths of tigers due to existing railway tracks,” he said.
Mr. Nayak pointed out that most run over deaths have been reported in Maharashtra where there are large number of tigers outside the reserves and tigers travel long distance to adjoining Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Chhattisgarh.
As per the information provided by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, eight tigers have died after being run over by trains between 2016 and 2018.