(News) Ken-Betwa project, got clearance from the Madhya Pradesh government

Ken-Betwa project, got clearance from the Madhya Pradesh government

Amid mild protests from a few Wildlife Advisory Board members, India's first river linking intitiative, the Ken-Betwa project, got clearance from the Madhya Pradesh government. State chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, however, gave an assurance that wildlife would be protected at any cost, while asserting that the Bundelkhand region was drought-prone and Ken-Betwa project was necessary.

"They have taken note of board member concerns over wildlife in Panna National Park, where the project is proposed to come up. But the project has been approved by state wildlife advisory board, for further clearance at the National Wildlife Board level," a member of the board told Business Standard. A highly-placed government official also confirmed this saying, "The project has now been forwarded for National Wildlife Board clearance."

Accordingly three buffer zones of 8,000 hectare would be added to the Panna National Park, which covers an area of approximately 580 sq kilometer. "An area of 3,006 hectares, namely Amanganj Buffer zone, will be added for tiger breeding zone, another area of 4528 hectare will be added as Kishangarh buffer zone for South-west tiger corridor and the a small area Chandranagar buffer zone of 472 hectare will be added to arrest defragmentation. Also four satellite core areas namely Nauradehi and Rani Durgawati wildlife sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh and Ranipur and Mahavir Swami wildlife sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh are proposed to be added as satellite core areas.

"The chief minister has clarified that he will make all possible efforts to protect tigers in Panna National Park," the official said adding. State government officials of forest department and irrigation department argued that only 58.03 sq km of core area and 31.97 sq km are of buffer will come under submergence.

The link canal of the project, which will be built at a cost of Rs 11,500 crore approximately will provide irrigation to water short areas of upper Betwa basin in Madhya Pradesh by way of substitution and also to enroute areas of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.


Courtesy: Business Standard