MP Wildlife Board clears development works in Protected Areas: CREW signals caution

Anusha Narain

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan chaired the State Wildlife Board meeting

Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh Wildlife Board, presided by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, has approved a large number of development works inside the Protected Areas.

Reacting on the clearance accorded to a series of proposals relating to development works inside the Protected Areas, Lalit Shastri, Editor-in Chief Newsroom24x7 and founder President of CREW (Crusade for Revival of Environment and Wildlife), was firm in pointing out that the development works inside Protected Areas – National Parks and wildlife Sanctuaries – should not be carried out without mitigation measures and there should be absolute guarantee that all works should be carried out without disturbing wildlife.

Stone mining inside Panna (file photo)

It is important that labour camps should not be allowed within 1 km of the boundary of the Protected Areas and the authorities entrusted with the task of enforcing the Wildlife Protection Act should continuously be engaged in monitoring the situation during the construction period, Shastri noted. He also said: “neither construction material should be stored within 100 meters of the boundary of the Protected Areas nor any construction material, including sand, soil, and stone, should be allowed to be excavated or removed from any National Park, Wildlife Sanctuary or forest area.”

Monitor Lizard

Shastri is especially critical of the State Wildlife Board and the State and Central Governments as all sanctions and approvals already have been accorded for the Ken-Betwa Link Project which will submerge more than 4000 hectare of the core area of Panna Tiger Reserve. This Project , if it is implemented, will devastate the best corridor of teak and dry mixed forest south of the Gangetic plain, which is also an excellent habitat of not only tigers but also threatened cliff species, including vultures. Panna, best known for its biodiversity, is also the home for a large variety of reptiles and the Indian monitor, Shastri said adding he wants that the Ken-Betwa Link Project should be abandoned. He expressed the hope that the Central Empowered Committee and the Supreme Court will consider the threats to the ecological system and order the shelving of this project.

The wildlife Board, at its meeting held here on Monday, approved the construction of proposed third rail line from Berkheda to Budhni under Ratapani sanctuary, partial doubling of Sontalai-Bagra-Tawa within the borders of Satpuda Tiger Reserve, land acquisition for big rail line project, Bhitri-Kurwah bridge construction on Son river in Rewa-Sidhi-Singrauli new rail line under Son-Ghadiyal sanctuary and electrification and doubling of Katni-Singrauli railway line under Sanjay Tiger Reserve.

Panna tiger

The Wildlife Board has also cleared the proposals for the construction of four approach roads in Prime Minister’s Village Road Development Scheme under Sanjay Tiger Reserve, construction of Nandakheda to Omkara road in Khivni sanctuary, A.B road-Basota road to Charaidan road in Son Chidiya sanctuary Ghatigaon, construction of a high-level bridge on Gopad river in Bahar-Korsar road under Son-Ghadiyal sanctuary, high-level bridge on Sone ka Gurja on Chambal river in National Chambal sanctuary, high-level bridge on Nakjhar to Bamuri Simhawal road on Son river in Son Ghadiyal sanctuary, upgradation of Rampur to Bhatoudi road under Prime Minister’s Village Road Development Scheme in Satpuda Tiger Reserve, construction of Pipariya-Pachmarhi to Ghana road in Satpuda Tiger Reserve and construction of teen puliya and repairing of Talikapura Basauta road from Dhuan village under Son Chidiya sanctuary.

Sidhi-Simhawal 132 k.v. power transmission line on Son river under Son Ghadiyal sanctuary, Rewa-Sidhi 220 k.v. transmission line and sanction of 765 k.v power line on Son and Banas river were approved. Permission to lay optical fibre cable lines on the sides of Highway No. 12 for defence forces in Narsinghgarh sanctuary and laying of optical fibre cable lines on the sides of Highway No.19 and 19A for defence forces under Satpuda Tiger Reserve have also been sanctioned.

Proposals for mining within the 10-km radius of different widlife sanctuaries were also also cleared by the Board. Besides, proposals have been approved for construction of a stadium for the Akbarpur village Kolar Dussehra Ground in Bhopal within 10-km radius of Van Vihar National Park, construction of sports ground at Dhuan village under Son Chidiya sanctuary, and laying of a water pipeline from Manikheda dam to Shivpuri under Madhav National Park.

A proposal also been approved by the Wildlife Board to change the vacant revenue land into forest land after displacement of revenue villages from protected areas and to change rehabilitated forest land to revenue land after displacement of villages from protected areas.

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