By Meera Bhardwaj:
The Tungabhadra High Level Canal (HLC) Service Road in Kamlapur, Hospete taluk, Karnataka has seen hundreds of road kills of various wildlife species including birds in the last seven decades. In the above picture, a blue-faced Malkoha was killed on the Service Road recently.
And, with the ongoing development of the service road, activists say it will result in high vehicular speeds, thereby increasing wildlife road kills as also resulting in accidents and maybe, vehicles will turn turtle and fall into the deep canal.
THE ROAD KILL OF A NIGHTJAR
Presently, the road is being used by farm and light vehicles and there is no entry for heavy vehicles. But the ongoing kills of bird species like Blue-faced Malkoha, Night Jar, etc has risen especially during the night time due to rash and speedy driving.
The Blue-faced Malkoha is a long tailed gray cuckoo with a pale blue eye-ring and ivory colored bill. Found in undulating terrain, it inhabits open forests and scrub jungles of Peninsular India and Sri Lanka. While some species of Nightjars are threatened with extinction, however, road-kills of Nightjar by light vehicles are said to be a major cause of mortality for many species of this family with their habit of resting and roosting on roads.
THE ROAD KILL OF A SNAKE ON THE CANAL ROAD
Activists who have observed and documented a wealth of species say, “Earlier, the nests of Indian Eagle Owls were disturbed as all the crevices and holes in the canal wall were closed and the wall cemented. Road kill of snakes, small mammals have risen on the Canal Service Road.
THE TB HIGH LEVEL CANAL SERVICE ROAD
Even small vehicles if they are allowed, they are likely to disturb bird species. Many mammals cross this road in the night and so, road kills will rise with the concrete road. Animal traffic will be affected very adversely with this road. Bird deaths have already been recorded on this road.”
Further, many a bird species have either vanished or not seen as they have been disturbed due to ongoing works what with road rollers and JCBs traversing this road continuously. Many other species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians too have been killed on the service road of the Tungabhadra HLC particularly snakes, Indian Civet, Indian Fox, etc.
ROAD KILL OF AN INDIAN CIVET
Another activity which is going on in this area is: sand being transported illegally from the agricultural lands and sold as filter sand. The sand mafia is very active in these regions and they zoom in and out at high speeds on the Canal Service Road.
Has any NOC been given to covert the kutcha Service Canal Road to a tarred one that falls in the ESZ of Daroji is not a mystery in view of the political pressures in the district?