Blackbuck Deaths Soar in Maharashtra Due to Highway Construction Impact – Forest Department Concerned

Pune, India: The forest department in Solapur is alarmed by the increasing number of blackbuck deaths due to road accidents in recent years. The rise in fatalities can be attributed to the construction of highways cutting through the animals’ migratory routes, leading to tragic incidents such as a recent accident on the Solapur-Bijapur highway where 13 blackbucks lost their lives.

In 2020, six blackbucks were reported dead, with reasons ranging from road accidents to poaching. However, with reduced vehicular movement during the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of incidents decreased. Unfortunately, in 2023, there has been a resurgence in blackbuck deaths, with 15 animals perishing in road accidents within a short span of time.

The deputy conservator of forests, Tushar Chavan, highlighted the impact of highways on blackbuck corridors, which are crucial grasslands for the animals. He emphasized how the animals follow specific migratory routes for food and water, which have been disrupted by the construction of new roadways.

To address this issue, the forest department has implemented various measures such as creating waterholes with a capacity of 5,000 liters in their original habitats and increasing the plantation of grass species favored by blackbucks. Additionally, solutions like overpasses, underpasses, and opaque fences along highways have been proposed to protect the blackbucks along their migratory paths.

Besides the challenges faced by blackbucks, other regions like Jammu and Srinagar have also been dealing with road-related issues due to landslides and inclement weather conditions. The need for adequate parking spaces along highways has prompted the Department of Town and Country Planning to allow the setup of truckers’ parks to prevent accidents caused by stationary trucks on roadsides.

In a bid to improve emergency response for highway accident victims, the introduction of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) in India has garnered attention. This initiative aims to provide quicker critical care to individuals injured in accidents on highways, with regions like Odisha and Madhya Pradesh expressing interest in adopting similar services. The integration of air ambulance services into existing healthcare frameworks is seen as a positive step towards ensuring timely medical assistance for those in need.