Ecologists welcome Chief Minister’s plea to PM on scrapping Neutrino, Salem expressway projects

Environmentalists and ecologists in Tamil Nadu are enthralled over Chief Minister MK Stalin’s submission of a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking scrapping of proposed Neutrino project in Megamalai Tiger Reserve and the Chennai Salem Expressway that threatened the scrub jungle forests in Eastern Ghats.
Ecologists welcome Chief Minister’s plea to PM on scrapping Neutrino, Salem expressway projects
File Photo


The DMK government had also asked the Centre to drop the hydrocarbon schemes in Delta region and the repeal of Draft Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2020 that has invited the criticism from the climate change activists. 
Poovulagin Nanbargal, a socio environmental NGO, welcomed the DMK’s appeal to annul the eight-way express corridor, Neutrino and hydrocarbon scheme. However, the NGO also expressed reservations against the DMK for planning to inter-link the rivers and the commencement of Sethu Samudram project which according to ecologists are a disaster. 
The Chennai-Salem highway is proposed to pass through reserve forest areas in Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai, Dharmapuri and Salem districts for a stretch of more than 20 km and these are already fragmented forest pockets in the Eastern Ghats, opined conservation scientist A Kumaraguru of Biodiversity Conservation Foundation. 
This is a big relief for reserve forests coming in Siruvanjur (Chengalpattu range) in Kancheepuram, Manjavadi Ghat and Pallipatti in Shervaroyan Hills, and Jarugumalai in Salem and Tiruvannamalai districts. Under the project more than 10 lakh trees should have faced the axe and this express corridor if executed will reduce the wildlife habitats endangering spotted deer, sloth bear, peacock, snakes, jackal and hare, the wildlife biologist added. 
“Neutrino has been a controversial proposal for the past 15 years. The scientists first wanted the project in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, then the project was shifted to Megamalai Tiger Reserve. These are pristine hillocks that should not be disturbed, Neutrino science at the cost of nature is disaster and not development,” said KVRK Thirunaranan, founder, The Nature Trust. 
Further tiger reserves are crucial in fighting climate change and all the development projects should be taken up only in the outskirts of forests, opined Thirunaranan.

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