River-linking project may affect Panna tiger reserve
Casting shadow over the fate of the upcoming Ken-Betwa river link
between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has
said that it would have bearing on the Panna Tiger Reserve. "I was shocked to
find that Panna Tiger Reserve is involved in the Ken-Betwa river link which is
the only project (on inter-linking river) that has progressed so far," Ramesh
Ken-Betwa link will transfer excess water from Ken to Betwa through a 231-km
canal. Only 18 km of the canal would be in Uttar Pradesh.
The critical observation by the minister has come close on the heels of the
ministry''s rejection of coal mining proposals from Adani Power Ltd and
Maharashtra Coal Company as they were adjacent to Tadoba Tiger Reserve in the
state. "I have already intervened and rejected two coal mining projects near
Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra," Ramesh said indicating the course of
action he is likely to take in the river linking project which threatens to
submerge at least 140 hectares of land of Panna Tiger Reserve.
"The proposal for divergence of a chunk of land from Panna tiger reserve is
yet to come up before the Environment Ministry. But it should not be given nod
at any cost given the threat to the tiger habitat," wildlife expert P K Sen
He said it is the forest land in Madhya Pradesh that is going to be a
casualty as out of 8,650 hectares likely to get submerged, 6,400 hectares are
forest land and 2,171 hectares culturable land. Some of it falls under the
Panna National Park.