Skip to main content

Ken-Betwa interlinking project "not implementable", would "destroy" Madhya Pradesh tiger reserve: Expert

By Our Representative
One of India's topmost conservationists and wildlife experts, Dr MK Ranjitsinh, has said that Phase 1 of the Rs 10,000-crore Ken-Betwa link project – which includes a 230-km canal and a series of barrages and dams linking the rivers – would mean end of the Panna Tiger Reserve of Madhya Pradesh.
Cleared by the National Board for Wildlife, the project is proposes to irrigate more than six lakh hectare (ha) of land in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, but the Daudhan Dam to be built to divert the water of Ken river would submerge a portion of the tiger reserve.
Dr Ranjitsinh's view acquires significance, as he is known to be a principal author of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Belonging to the erstwhile royal family of Wankaner, Saurashtra, Gujarat, he has been a Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer, who dominated the state's forest policies for over two decades.
In an interview to a top site, Dr Ranjitsinh says, the project, floated in 2004 by the AB Vajpayee government, would “bifurcate” and “disembowel” the centre of the park, with the inundation affecting “the connectivity and movement of all animals, including the prey.”
Pointing out that it would “also adversely affect the quality of habitat”, Dr Ranjitsinh says, “The area being submerged is low-lying and being close to the river, it has moisture and supports the growth of grass. As a result there is plenty of food available for herbivores. These include cheetal, neelgai, wild boar and the four–horned antelope.”

Dr MK Ranjitsinh
Pointing out that “the cheetal provide the principle food species for the tiger. I do not see the gene pool getting affected”, Dr Ranjitsinh says, he "expostulated" all these details at both the state wildlife board meetings held under the chairmanship of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
During the meetings, he says, he also pointed out that the Environment Impact Assessment report for the project does talk about areas under submergence, but “without talking about the canals emanating from the proposed dam or about the colonies of workers that will have to be constructed to build the dam or even of the noise factor that will adversely impact animals.”
“I had told Chouhan that he is wearing two hats, one as chief minister and the other as chairperson of the state wildlife board, which is an advisory body. Let people have a free say. Most of the members on the board are government servants who will not open their mouths”, says Dr Ranjitsinh.
“I told the chief minister, make up your mind – project or park (Panna Tiger Reserve) – you cannot have both”, he says, adding, “My fear is that the chief minister will be left with neither the project nor the park.”
He underlines, “Several water experts have warned against the interlinking of the rivers. They point out that the Ken river itself does not have enough water and the project will prove to be a disaster, thereby worsening the water situation in our country. I am not against projects but projects cannot succeed if there is not enough water.”
Pointing out that the projec is just “an old game being played out by the irrigation department”, Dr Ranjitsinh says, “When I was chairman of the Narmada Valley Development Authority, I told the irrigation experts to put all the cards on the table."
Taking objection to the Narmada dam, he had asked then, he says, "How much will the cost be, how much electricity will it generate, to which the engineers replied, at this rate, the project (to build dams across the river) will not be sanctioned. I regard this as cheating the nation.”

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?