HSR: An ecofriendly transport option
High Speed Rail is a proven eco-friendly transport option worldwide and according to a study by International Union of Railways, Co2 emission for a 600 km trip per passenger by high speed rail is 8.1 Kg as compared to 67.4 kg for car travel and 93 kg for airplane travel.
The one major aspect MAHSR project is significantly focusing on is that of keeping an eco-friendly approach towards one of its main stakeholders: the environment. In the wake of rising concerns over issues like climate change, global warming and alarming pollution levels, the idea of putting India on the fast-track to progress & prosperity needs to be tackled with care and responsibility. Therefore, every measure is being taken in the process to protect the environment and make this project an environmentally feasible one.
Some significant steps taken by NHSRCL to protect the environment are as follows:
- Without changing the location of Thane station, design of station was modified and 12 hectares of affected Mangrove region got reduced to only 3 hectares. So this way, NHSRCL has saved around 21000 mangroves and now only 32044 mangroves will get affected from the entire project.
- And, this is not the net loss of the mangroves, because NHSRCL will get the affected mangroves from the bullet train project compensated at the rate of 1:5, by depositing money into Mangroves cell, which will do the compensatory afforestation of the mangroves. So the number of affected mangroves are 32044 and around 160000 new mangroves will be planted and the entire financial expense will be borne by NHSRCL.
- In order to protect flamingo sanctuary and the adjoining eco-sensitive zone in Thane creek area, a landmark decision was taken to pass train underground (up to 40 m below ground) so as to have minimal disturbance to the flamingos and mangroves in the area.
- MAHSR bullet train alignment is carefully planned through an 80 m wide area between Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Tungareshwar National Park (and not inside them), which is notified as a non-protected area for wildlife. Same 80 m wide area is being used by many other projects like existing highway, Panvel Virar highway, existing railway line, DFCC and many other projects. Noise barriers will be installed so that wild animals will not get disturb because of the movement of trains. Since, corridor is planned through outside boundaries of these national parks, there is no disturbance to the wildlife in these parks.
- The ‘Tree Spade Technology’ is being utilised at various construction sites. The use of this technology would ensure that each uprooted tree will be taken to a new plantation site and replanted. So far 273 trees have been transplanted and 198 additional trees have been planted along the alignment.