IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

A proposed road tunnel beneath Western Ghats in Kerala: purpose, concerns

7th October, 2020 Environment

Context: Kerala Chief Minister “launched” a tunnel road project that would connect Kozhikode with Wayanad.

  • It meant the beginning of a survey and fixing the final alignment ahead of the detailed project report, which should be followed by steps such as technical sanction, environmental impact assessment report, and seeking mandatory clearance from various agencies including the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

What is this Kozhikode-Wayanad tunnel road?

  • 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).

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, marsh lands 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.