Ken-Betwa river linking project: Wildlife board panel gives nod for Phase I

The Rs 10,000-crore project requires diversion of 5,258 hectares of forest land, including 4,141 hectares of Panna Tiger Reserve.

Written by Jay Mazoomdaar | New Delhi | Published:September 20, 2016 5:45 am
ken-betwa river, ken-betwa river linking project, wildlife clearance, panna tiger reserve forest land, ganga rejuvenation, panna tiger reserve, national water development agency, nwda panna tiger reserve, tiger conservation, wildlife institute of india, wildlife protection act, india news As reported by The Indian Express on May 12, the project was given in-principle approval in the 38th meeting of the NBWL standing committee on May 10.

THE STANDING committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) cleared Phase-I of Ken-Betwa river link project in its first meeting with new Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave as chairman.

The minutes of the meeting, held on August 23, was approved Monday.

The Rs 10,000-crore project requires diversion of 5,258 hectares of forest land, including 4,141 hectares of Panna Tiger Reserve.

As reported by The Indian Express on May 12, the project was given in-principle approval in the 38th meeting of the NBWL standing committee on May 10. Facing flak, the ministry decided to hold further deliberations with engineering and hydrological experts “in view of differing opinions on the height of the water impending structures and resulting impact.”

At the 39th meeting on August 23, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) director “indicated that the (expert) group was convinced that reducing dam height by 10 metres will result in non-availability of water for linking”.

The proposal to drop the plan for power generation, given the project’s focus on fighting drought in the Bundelkhand region, was also shot down after the Ministry of Water Resources assured that power generation facilities would be outside the tiger reserve. Accordingly, the committee decided to recommend the project without any modification with these additional conditions:

* To compensate for direct loss of 105 sq km of tiger habitat, Nauradehi, Rani Durgavati and Ranipur wildlife sanctuaries will be integrated in Panna Tiger Reserve; affected forest villagers will be rehabilitated at project’s cost.

* The dam reservoir area will be retained as core tiger reserve with minimum activities.

* No fishing will be allowed at the dam site.

* No new mining leases will be allowed on tiger dispersal routes.

* A landscape-based plan for the area will be finalised with the National Tiger Conservation Authority in lead, assisted by WII, state forest department and the project proponents.

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  1. A
    Akash
    Sep 20, 2016 at 3:56 am
    The compensatory details are not explicit and, therefore ambiguous interpretation may lead to more exploitation. Moreover, there is no word on existing diamond mines and mitigating human-wildlife conflict. Only mining on tiger dispersal routes is banned but, what about commercial activities in buffer areas. Hence, ambiguities must be cleared with more focus on forest and animal conservation.
    Reply
  2. G
    goldenfig
    Sep 20, 2016 at 6:44 am
    A most unwise decision. Plant trees specialists! You should not disturb forests even for a good reason. The Ken Betwa link NOT by dams but by trees. See Collaterals of climate change: THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX: TREES FOR DAMS
    Reply
  3. G
    goldenfig
    Sep 20, 2016 at 8:21 am
    See the holistic analysis regarding the disastrous dam project for the Ken Betwa link at Collaterals of climate change:River interlinking schemes- The modern and the normal Extinction is what will be the outcome of the Ken Betwa link and similar projects.
    Reply