Railways to revise Hubli-Ankola rail proposal
The Karnataka High Court has resolved a series of petitions contesting the Hubli (Hubballi)-Ankola railway line project. The Railways has assured that it will develop a revised proposal and commence work only after securing all essential clearances, addressing concerns raised regarding wildlife habitat fragmentation.Giridhar Kulkarni and others, who filed public interest litigations (PILs) opposing the project due to its potential impact on the tiger habitat, found recourse in the Railways' commitment to mitigate ecological repercussions. The Railways' Deputy Chief Engineer, Construction-1, South Western Railways, Hubballi, pledged to collaborate with the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, to formulate a mitigation plan aligned with the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL).The Court, presided over by Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice M G S Kamal, acknowledged the Railways' affidavit and subsequently closed the PILs, acknowledging the Railways' intent to address the concerns.The petitioners presented site inspection reports from the Standing Committee for NBWL and minutes from the 73rd NBWL meeting, highlighting discrepancies and advocating for a fresh Railways proposal. Furthermore, the court was apprised of an excerpt from the Tiger Census Report of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), emphasising the necessity for mitigating measures to prevent tiger habitat fragmentation caused by the rail project.This development reflects the Railways' commitment to conservation and responsible project execution, assuring a balanced approach to infrastructure development while safeguarding the environment.