River-linking project may affect Panna Tiger Reserve
New Delhi: 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 said.
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
Ken is the last tributary of Yamuna before it joins
Ganga. 87 percent of it lies in Madhya Pradesh and 12 percent is in Uttar Pradesh while Betwa is an inter-state river
that rises in Raisen district of MP. This is also a tributary
A tripartite MoU was signed between the Union Minister
for Water Resources and Chief Ministers of UP and MP in 2005
for preparing a Detailed Project Report of Ken-Betwa link.