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Posted at: Mar 24, 2017, 12:43 AM; last updated: Mar 24, 2017, 12:43 AM (IST)

Opening of Kandi road sparks off war of words

It will connect Ramnagar to Kotdwar via Kalagarh

Jotirmay Thapliyal

Tribune News Service

Dehradun, March 23

The Trivendra Singh Rawat government’s recent decision to open the Kandi road, that circumscribes the landscape of the Jim Corbett National Park in Kumaon, has set off a debate over the issue of development versus conservation.

The Kandi road is a symbol of long-drawn development versus conservation battle in the hill state. The road cuts apart the Corbett National Park in Kumaon and is very critical for the state as it links the Garhwal and the Kumaon regions. But the road is closed for traffic as it is in a highly protected area.

At present a kutcha road, Kandi Marg as it is popularly known, is used by villagers who has been demanding its metalling for long. But as the road falls in the protected area of the national park, environment and wildlife concerns have so far prevented the construction of this key road that will link major cities such as Ramnagar to Kotdwar via Kalagarh.

The biggest advantage of constructing this road is better connectivity between Garhwal and Kumaon. Significantly, a delay in construction of the Kandi road has forced the people of the Garhwal division to cross over to Uttar Pradesh before entering the Kumaon region and vice versa. This elongates the distance and also leads to financial burden. The dependency on Uttar Pradesh for connectivity is also a hindrance.

Munish Kumar, who has been at the forefront of the Kandi road agitation for the past several decades, has welcomed the development. He said the Kandi road had been used by local villagers for generations but due to restrictions on traffic movement, the villagers were suffering a lot. Opening of the Kandi road will certainly bring in development in the region.

On the other hand, social activist Anoop Nautiyal argued that the road in the national park can lead to disastrous consequences. The fragile environment of the region is bound to get affected due to large-scale traffic movement, he added.

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