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Kozhikode-Wayanad Tunnel Project

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the Tunnel, EIA

Mains level : NA

Kerala CM has launched a tunnel road project that would connect Kozhikode with Wayanad.

Try this PYQ:

Q.From the ecological point of view, which one of the following assumes importance in being a good link between the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats?

(a) Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve

(b) Nallamala Forest

(c) Nagarhole National Park

(d) Seshachalam Biosphere Reserve

Kozhikode-Wayanad Tunnel Project

  • The 7-km tunnel, being described as the third-longest in the country, is part of an 8-km road cutting through sensitive forests and hills of the Western Ghats.
  • Its endpoints are at Maripuzha in Thiruvambady village panchayat (Kozhikode) and Kalladi in Meppadi panchayat (Wayanad).
  • The tunnel is an outcome of a decades-long campaign for an alternative road as the Thamarassery Ghat Road is congested and gets blocked by landslides during heavy monsoon.

How will the road impact the ecology?

  • The Forest Department has identified the proposed route as a highly sensitive patch comprising evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, marshlands and shola tracts.
  • This region is part of an elephant corridor spread between Wayanad and Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu.
  • Two major rivers, Chaliyar and Kabani that flows to Karnataka, originate from these hills in Wayanad.
  • Eruvazhanjipuzha, a tributary of Chaliyar and the lifeline of settlements in Malappuram and Kozhikode, begins in the other side of the hills.
  • The region, known for torrential rain during the monsoon, has witnessed several landslides, including in 2019 at Kavalappura near Nilambur and at Puthumala, Meppadi in Wayanad.

Environmental clearance issues

  • Proponents of the project have been stressing that the tunnel will not destroy forest (trees).
  • The MoEFCC guidelines state that the Forest Act would apply not only to surface area but the entire underground area beneath the trees.
  • For tunnel projects, conditions relating to underground mining would be applicable.
  • As the proposed tunnel is 7 km long, it will require emergency exit points and air ventilation wells among other measures, which would impact the forest further.
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