The National Green Tribunal has given a green signal for the construction of ₹13, 600 crore Delhi-Dehradun Economic Corridor Expressway and also formed a 12 member committee panel to ensure no damage is caused to the environment and obstruction of animal corridor on the Ganeshpur-Dehradun Road (NH-72A) stretch. The panel will meet soon to take stock of the situation and plan a further course of action. The tribunal directed the NHAI to deposit ₹1 crore in a separate account for research of Sal regeneration, in collaboration with Forest Departments of Uttarakhand and UP and any other institution. Steps to be monitored will also include cordoning of elevated roads and other ecological sensitive stretches with proper barriers to absorb light and noise, fitting of cameras at strategic locations to monitor the protection of wildlife movement and their habitats, mechanism for rescuing animals in case of any accidents, awareness for care and protection of wildlife.
Delhi Dehradun Highway including NH-72A is an important highway connecting Delhi, Haryana and Western UP to Dehradun and higher reaches of Himalayas through Dehradun. Hence, the capacity augmentation of this highway is not just important for connecting the State Capital of Uttarakhand with the National Capital, but also vital for Strategic defence purposes for timely and seamless movement of Army/ warheads to higher reaches of the Himalayas. Currently, the stretch carries traffic more than 20,000 equivalent passenger car units (PCUs) per day which is much beyond the 2-lane capacity of 10,500 PCU, necessitating urgent up-gradation of highway capacity. The average travelling time between Ganeshpur to Dehradun (20.7km stretch) is 45-60 mins during tourist/yatra season, which extends to 2 hours leading to frequent traffic jams, resulting in a significant increase in Air & Sound pollution in the area and also safety hazards to road users. Longer travel time of vehicles in forest zone means a longer time of disturbance to wildlife also and another major reason necessitating the development of the project site is the poor geometrics of the existing road which leads to occurrence of road accidents.