‘Missing Link’ project will make 8,317 trees go missing

Mumbai: The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation has been given the green signal to fell 8,317 trees for the augmentation of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the 'missing link' project, which will begin from the Khopoli exit on the Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway to Sinhagad Institute near Lonavla in Pune.

Forest clearance to fell trees in Alibaug and in the forest areas of Pune, including protected forest areas, was received by the MSRDC on June 4. Accordingly, the authorities have permission to fell 7,813 trees in Alibaug and 504 trees in Pune, spread over 83.44 hectares of forest area.

An MSRDC official has confirmed this fact and said that although work on the project had begun, the contractor had been restrained from working on forest land. Now, with the forest clearance in place, work can be on in full swing.

To compensate for the deforestation, the MSRDC will plant around 40,000 trees on vacant land adjoining the expressway and maintain these trees for five years. In addition, 83.44 hectares of land in Jalna will be transferred to the state.

Augmentation of the Mumbai-Pune expressway was necessitated following heavy traffic and landslides being reported in the Ghat section, especially during the rainy season.

The plan proposes the construction of two bridges, connected through viaducts and two new tunnels. Once the link is complete, the distance will be cut by six kilometres.

The project was sanctioned in 2017 and Afcons Infrastructure and the Hyderabad-based Navyuga Engineering are undertaking this project.

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