Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Objecting to doubling and electrification of Katni-Singrauli railway line through Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve (SDTR), the conservationists, in a letter, have appealed to the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to protect SDTR by realigning the railway line so as to bypass the tiger reserve and ensure the ecological and conservation integrity of the landscape.
This appeal letter has been sent to Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Minister of Railways and other senior officials of the MoEFCC and Madhya Pradesh Forest Department.
According to letter, SDTR is connected through corridors with Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve to the west and borders Guru Ghasidas National Park in Chhattisgarh to the south.
Bandhavgarh SDTR-Guru Ghasidas landscape together constitutes 3,607-sq km area. It is also connected to Palamau Tiger Reserve in Jharkhand. Because of this, strategic location the proposed expansion would not only split the SDTR landscape but disconnect all the inter-connected conservation areas from each other. This landscape harbours 141 tigers and has the potential to accommodate the increasing tiger population of Central India.
National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Wildlife Institute of India also have highlighted the importance of the landscape in All India Tiger Estimation 2018 report.
The 27.5 km stretch of existing railway line connecting Katni to Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh passes through the 67-hectare area of critical tiger habitat of Sanjay-Dubri Tiger Reserve and the 5.3-hectare of dense forest areas of Sidhi district adjoining SDTR. The moderate amount of traffic on this existing route has already claimed life of a tigress from SDTR in April 2022 due to an accident while crossing the rail tracks.
The proposed expansion and electrification of the present line would bisect a Tiger Reserve and a crucial forest corridor which will be highly detrimental to tiger conservation efforts, and hence must be prevented.