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EIA Report Introduction

Chapter-1
Introduction:

Indian Railways is one of the largest systems in the world. It is also one of the very few railway systems
in the world generating operating surpluses. The Indian Railways has a glorious past and has achieved a
phenomenal growth in both freight and passenger traffic by improving asset utilization and efficiency of
operations. India is a land of diverse culture and Railways play a vital role in meeting the transport needs
of the country and at the same time binding together dispersed areas and promoting national
integration. Railways, being more energy efficient mode of transport, are ideally suited for movement of
bulk commodities and for long distance travel.

Rail transportation has a number of favorable characteristics as compared to road transportation. It is


six times more energy-efficient than road and four times more economical. The social costs in terms of
environment damage or degradation are significantly lower in rail. Rail construction costs are
approximately six times lower than road for comparable levels of traffic. It is the only major transport
mode capable of using any form of primary energy. The present study focuses on the Environmental
Impact Assessment for the proposed railway tunnel.

Environmental impact assessment is, in its simplest form, a planning tool that is now generally
regarded as an integral component of sound decision making. As a planning tool it has both
information gathering and decision making component which provides the decision maker with
an objective basis for granting or denying approval for a proposed development. (iii)
Environmental Impact Assessment may be defined as a formal process used to evaluate the
environmental consequences of any development project. EIA thus ensures that the potential
problems are foreseen and addressed at an early stage in the projects planning and design.

Environmental Impact Assessment is a planning tool main purpose of which is; to give the
environment its due place in the decision making process by clearly evaluating the
environmental consequences of a proposed activity before action is taken. The concept has
ramifications in the long run for almost all development activities because sustainable
development depends on protecting the natural resources which is the foundation for further
development

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a tool used to identify the environmental, social and
economic impacts of a project prior to decision-making. It aims to predict environmental
impacts at an early stage in project planning and design, find ways and means to reduce
adverse impacts, shape projects to suit the local environment and present the predictions and
options to decision-makers. By using EIA both environmental and economic benefits can be
achieved, such as reduced cost and time of project implementation and design, avoid
treatment / clean-up costs and impacts of laws and regulations.

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EIA Report Introduction

Project Area

Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has begun construction of the North Bengal-Sikkim Railway Link, a
52.7km stretch of track that will connect Sevoke, North Bengal, to Rangpo, Sikkim. The line will be broad
gauge (5ft 6in) and has a proposed 65km/hr speed limit. Once operational, it will be the first time Sikkim
will be connected to the main Indian rail network, and as such is expected to boost local tourism and the
region's economy. The rail link will pass through the steep terrain of the Kanchenjunga mountain range
foothills and the Teesta river valley; in addition 85% of the route will pass through tunnels.

The Shiliguri Corridor is an area of 12,203 square kilometers connecting mainland India with the outlying
Border States of the Northeast. It houses the all-important feeder highways number NH 31 and 31A and
the North Frontier Railways. The consultancy work was awarded to D-2 PEMS for all structures including
tunnels, bridges, station yards and associated works. The total length of the proposed alignment is
about 6.96 km, which includes two tunnels (T-9 and T-10), Mille Yard, five brides and access roads to the
tunneling area. The National Highway 31 A runs parallel to the proposed project area. When completed,
this project will greatly improve the connectivity to Sikkim and will be a great boost to the States
economy as well as tourism.

Over View of the Proposed Project

At present the lifeline for this area is the NH-31 A, which is maintained by Border Roads Organization.
There is heavy traffic moving on this road. This road connects the State of Sikkim to the rest of the North
Eastern States. Many BSF and Army camps are located in the area. Construction of a new railway line
from Sevoke to Rangpo will have five stations viz. Melli, Tista Bazaar, Geikhola, Riang and Rangpo. The
existing road has frequent landslides and interrupts the traffic flow for long hours; this gave the planner
to develop an alternate mode of transport in this area. The proposed railway project would function as
an alternate mode of transport.

The new broad gauge railway line 53 km long, connecting Sevoke in West Bengal near Shiliguri to
Rangpo in Sikkim, is running through the foot hills of Kunchanjangha ranges of Himalayas close to river
Teesta. It passes approximately 100 to 600 m away from the National Highway 31 A connecting from
Rangpo to Gangtok via Kalijora-Durbindara, through the reserve forest areas in Darjeeling District of
West Bengal and East Sikkim District of Sikkim.

The topography is hilly and the project area falls in seismic zone-IV. The locality has heavy to very heavy
rainfall; the average rainfall is in the order 2500 mm and monsoon period extends from May to October.
Latest cost of the project is Rs. 1339 Cr. Target completion of the project is 48 months.

The T9 tunnel stretches from km 27+ 587 (South Portal) to Km 28+140 (North Pole), with a total length of
553 m. The total length of tunnel T10 is 5,116 m (stretching from Km 28+196 to 33+312) respectively for
South and North portals). The design speed of the new section is 100 kmph for mixed traction; the ruling
gradient is 1 in 80 with curve compensation.

The project entails construction of rail embankments including several tunnels, bridges and viaducts,
stations and yards. The current work from a part of the major Sevoke - Rangpo project, this envisages
construction of two tunnels (T9 and T10) of the total length 5.669 Km, five bridges with a via-duct span
for one bridge (Bridges No. 12 to 16) will spans ranging from 12.2 to 76.2 m and one station yard.

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EIA Report Introduction

Figure 1 Overview of the location of the proposed Railway line

Objective:

An Environmental Impact Assessment Study along with Environmental Management Plan is to be


prepared for the project. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Study is an integral part of any
infrastructure development project. The primary objective is to assess the potential impacts of the
project development and implementation on the environment and local population and to identify all
possible measures to mitigate or minimize the impacts and overall promote the concept of sustainable
development.

To achieve the present objective requires identifying the potential impacts by evaluating the baseline
conditions. In addition to the above an Environmental Management Plan will also be prepared for the
proposed project.

The present project (Construction of Mille Yard, Tunnels and bridges) does not require an environmental
clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. As per Environment
Impact Assessment Notification S.O.1533 (E), dated 15th September, 2006 promulgated under umbrella
legislation Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the environmental clearance is not required either for
new or improvement of any railways project. However, project will require tree cutting permission. In
addition to above, permission for river water use for construction purpose and domestic purposes will
be required. Prior consent will also be required from state pollution control board, for setting up hot mix

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EIA Report Introduction

plant , crusher Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution ) Act 1974 and Air ( Prevention and Control of
Pollution ) Act 1981, during construction stage.

Structure of EIA Report

Environmental Impact Assessment Report will comprise the following details represented in various
chapters of the Report:

Introduction Chapter (Chapter 1) will emphasize more on the project activities and the objectives. The
major focus would be on the identification of the study area and the project description. Chapter 2 of
the Report will discuss about the various environmental parameters for the proposed project with the
relevant primary data will be generated for the water quality, air quality and noise levels along with the
secondary information collected from various statutory agencies of the State Government. Chapter 3
will discuss about the existing environmental legislation and necessary clearance at the time of
execution of the project. The chapter also envisages the clearance procedures for getting the required
permissions from the State Government Departments. The Chapter 4 depicts about the baseline
environmental conditions of the proposed project area. The chapter 5 Environmental Impacts and the
Mitigation Measures suggests the mitigation measures for the impacts caused due to the tunneling
activity. Chapter 6 Environmental Management Plan which focuses on the implementation of mitigation
measures at various stages of the project to curtail adverse impacts. Even though the Environmental
Management Plan will be short in the EIA Report and detailed Environmental Management Plan
(Construction Stage) will be given at a later stage of the project. A monitoring plan will also be worked
out for safe guarding the environment. The budget for the implementation of the mitigation measures
well also is worked out. Chapter 7 conclusions will be drawn over the project impacts and the suggested
mitigation measures will be envisaged and benefit of the proposed project will be highlighted.

Contact Details of the Project Proponent

The Project Proponent Contact Details are given below:

Mr. K.K. Gupta, IRSE


General Manager (SR)
IRCON International Limited
Ministry of Railways
C-4, District Centre, Saket,
New Delhi-110017
Ph.26530462

Mr.Prasenjit Purkayastha
Joint General Manager,
IRCON International Limited
(Ministry of Railways),
Sivoke-Rangopo Railway Line Project,
SUKRITI, Jyoti Nagar, Sivoke Road,
P.S. Bhakti Nagar, Siliguri-734001.
(T) 0353-2541011

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EIA Report Introduction

(M) 08016000605

Mr.A.K. Sinha
Joint General Manager,
IRCON International Limited
(Ministry of Railways),
Sivoke-Rangopo Railway Line Project,
SUKRITI, Jyoti Nagar, Sivoke Road,
P.S. Bhakti Nagar, Siliguri-734001.
(T) 0353-2541011
(M) 08016000609

Mr. Raju Kambli


Deputy General Manager (Civil)
IRCON International Limited
(Ministry of Railways),
Sivoke-Rangopo Railway Line Project,
SUKRITI, Jyoti Nagar, Sivoke Road,
P.S. Bhakti Nagar, Siliguri-734001.