Karwar: The lives and livelihoods of several coastal families have been affected by the expansion of National Highway 66 in the Uttara Kannada district, according to a new study.
Titled "Closing the Enforcement Gap: A community-led ground-truthing of the expansion of a National Highway Project in Uttara Kannada", the study revealed that the region had sustained ecological damage due to the expansion project and those nearby communities, as well as natural landscapes, were adversely affected.
The study also alleged that the NH 66 project (which connects Karwar to Kundapura) resulted in non-compliant withdrawal and blasting of groundwater, river water as well as the dumping of soil on wetlands and creeks. This, in turn, led to occurrences of flooding and saltwater intrusion in the region.
The Centre for Policy Research - Namati Environmental Justice Programme carried out the study.
It can be recalled that right from the beginning, the road widening project had resulted in many disputes between officials and local communities who alleged non-compliant clearance conditions.
“Many villages were affected by the stone blasting activities carried out for the widening of the highway. Villages located near the stone crusher units encountered health and livelihood-related problems due to dust pollution. There were reports of damage to public property such as pipelines, drainage systems, water tanks, and other public utilities," says the study.
(with inputs from The Hindu)
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