Society needs to value our natural heritage

Nagpur was once home to animals now seen only in forests. Animals such as common langur, civets, mongoose, bats, and birds such as parakeets, herons, cormorants, hornbills have fallen prey to the rapid urbanization. The PDKV land and adjoining Futala Lake is a refugium of the past. Studies by Neeri have also documented biodiversity declining in the city.
The rapid pace of development projects, widening of roads, construction of flyovers and Metro railway has caused temporary hardships which citizens have tolerated. In many cases, there is no scope for an alternate road to divert traffic.

The PDKV mini-forest offers easy availability of land, becoming a victim of the short-sightedness of engineers, urban planners, and politicians. This attitude of urban planners is because society has failed to value our natural heritage properly.

The cost of the fresh air that we breathe and the water that we get from natural eco-systems is always under-valued. Imagine paying Rs. 20 per liter for all the water that we consume daily for bathing, washing and other daily needs and for every breath of oxygen, the value of our natural heritage becomes even more costly than prime real estate.

The first principle to be considered is whether alternate roads for diverting traffic are available? Within a span of 2 kilometers, four to five parallel roads exist which offer similar connectivity to the proposed alternate road via Futala. Why not divert traffic via these existing roads instead of building a new road, the requirement of which is not clear in the first place.

A bulk of the traffic on Futala Road consists of people visiting the lake area for recreational purposes, which will obviously reduce during construction. Have proper traffic volume studies been conducted?

The lack of planning and clarity is apparent from the fact that the proposed road has been labeled as temporary or permanent by different civic agencies. Maybe the road was initially portrayed as temporary to deliberately mislead citizens?

No development is ever temporary. Strip development is a well-known outcome of road building. Are there further plans for development on PDKV land?

If parallel roads exist, they must be used and existing natural refugia must be preserved over short-term considerations at all costs.

Date: 10 March 2019
Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/society-needs-to-value-our-natural-heritage/articleshow/68336658.cms