Skip to main content

Lesser Florican: MP Banishes the Bird Popular for mid- air Romance

There seems to be no place  in  Madhya Pradesh for Lesser Florican or Kharmore (Sypheotides) ,one of the most romantic but endangered birds of the planet . The shy bird, popular for  it's mid-air courtship gestures ,has been rendered almost homeless by the  state government.  The State wildlife Board - headed by the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh- recommended  last month de-notification of 348.12 sq km area of Sardarpur Kharmoresanctuary in Dhar district, home to Kharmore during its breeding period of monsoon till October. The sanctuary will now be shrunk only to about 16 sq km area. As the bird was being banished, ‘esteemed’ members of the Board looked as helpless as the threatened Florican before the powerful politicians. Though the State Wildlife Boards have the primary task to manage the conservation and protection of wildlife at the State Level, it seems to have worked contradictory to  its mandate . There was hardly any voice of dissent from its members who are empowered t

UNESCO's "Hope for the Planet" Cry doesn't Gel with Ken Betwa Project

UNESCO, Betwa Project, Man and Biosphere Programme, UNESCO New Delhi, Panna Tiger Reserve,  Madhya Pradesh,

When Panna was included as  the 12th  Biosphere Reserve (BR),  it was yet another recognition to  its critical tiger reserve facing threat from a river  linking project and Bunelkhand’s unique ecosystem. “UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme today (October 29) included Panna in India and Fuvahmulah and Addu Atoll (both islands)  in the Maldives, to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves'', the UNESCO website said.

Sustainability: Hope for the Planets

UNESCO, Betwa Project, Man and Biosphere Programme, UNESCO New Delhi, Panna Tiger Reserve,  Madhya Pradesh,

If we can make sustainability work at a local level, and scientifically document how it works, perhaps there is hope for the planet. That is the task UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme  (MAB) was given by its Member States 49 years ago, ’the website quoted ,Guy Broucke, head of Natural Sciences, UNESCO New Delhi.  Introducing Panna as the new BR, the UNESCO said “Located in the centre of India, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Panna is characterized by forests and marshy vegetation, with an abundance of rare medicinal plants as well as other non-timber forestry products, such as Kattha, gum and resins. It is a critical tiger habitat area and hosts the Panna Tiger Reserve, as well as the World Heritage site of the Khajuraho Group of Monuments. The area has undergone substantial ecosystem restoration in the buffer zone. With only three urban centres and over 300 villages, agriculture is the main source of income, together with horticulture, forestry, and cultural and eco-tourism.”

A Big Question over Ken Betwa Project Again

UNESCO, Betwa Project, Man and Biosphere Programme, UNESCO New Delhi, Panna Tiger Reserve,  Madhya Pradesh,
The first reaction of environmentalists after this acknowledgement is : How would it affect the  controversial Ken-Betwa link project (KBLP) , especially in view of the issues raised by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court in a case related to the project  on  August  30 last year. It questioned the basis on which wildlife clearance was granted to it.  Punching holes in the green clearances given to (KBLP), proposed right inside the  Panna tiger  reserve, by the Union ministry of environment, the CEC of the apex court raised questions about the basic viability of the project.  The report reveals that sustainable and cost-effective alternatives to the Ken-Betwa project have not been considered and the project will impact wildlife like tiger and gharial, whose populations are threatened. The report also noted that felling of over two million trees for the project would be a severe loss and compensatory planting would not be able to recreate existing riverine and forest ecosystems. An estimated  Rs. 280 billion project involves the construction of a 77 metre high and 2,031 m long composite dam across river Ken near village Daudhan in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. Once completed, in an estimated nine years, the dam is expected to provide irrigation facility to 606,980 hectares area, drinking water facility for 1.4 million (14 lakh) people and generation of 78-megawatt hydropower. Water will be transferred through a 221-kilometre long Ken-Betwa Link Canal Phase-l which will be constructed along the left bank of the river Ken. The project is also expected to result in submergence of over 9,000 hectares of area and out of that 5,803 hectares is in the Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR).

Also read: Protect This Wildlife Corridor to Save the Ganges

The first river -linking project of India involving the states of  Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh envisages a transfer of surplus water from river Ken’s basin to river Betwa’s basin to provide water in areas in the upper Betwa basin that are facing acute water shortage. That Ken  basin is water –surplus is always contested.  Long back, in 2007, a district collector of Panna shot a letter to the then principal secretary of water resources department and said,” I will not hesitate to say that the first line itself of the feasibility report prepared by the National Water Development Agency is faulty. To say that the Ken Basin is a “Water Surplus” basin is not only totally erroneous, it holds disastrous implications for the residents of Panna district as also other districts of the Ken river basin.”

Questioning the “appropriateness of the wildlife clearances” given to the project , Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams Rivers and people (SANDRP ) also  questioned its “viability, optimality and desirability”. SANDRP is a network of organisations and individuals working on issues related to the water sector, specifically associated with large dams. Thakkar also hoped that  “the government wakes up to the reality and shelves the project and immediately goes for more viable, quicker, cost-effective and less damaging options for Bundelkhand”

Politics Pushes Environmental Issues to Backburner

UNESCO, Betwa Project, Man and Biosphere Programme, UNESCO New Delhi, Panna Tiger Reserve,  Madhya Pradesh,
Meanwhile politicians, especially those linked with the party in power keep raising the issue and talk about its  speedy implementation. Amidst protests from some members of  MP State Wildlife Board,  Shivraj Singh Chouhan   in 2015  as CM  ensured that  it gets  the board’s nod. A book on tiger crisis ,‘ BREATHLESS” –‘ Hunted and Hounded, the Tiger Runs for Its life’ reveals  the inside story of the  Board meeting.  “One of the  non-official members of the Board  said that the nation will have to choose between the project and the park, ”the book written by a Bhopal based journalist said. Chouhan opted for the project.  Recently in an election meeting in Badamalehara ,Chouhan  sought the help of Uma Bharti  to  coordinate a  meeting with his UP counterpart . Chouhan said that he would have a meeting with the chief minister of UP   demanding more water for Madhya Pradesh as  more land of  the state would be submerged . Though Panna BR is much more than the Panna tiger reserve,  the issue of KBLP comes naturally. Panna BR area includes ecologically rich forest pockets of north, south forest divisions, and  the protected areas of Panna district and forest division of Chhatarpur district. Panna BR ,notified by the ministry of environment and forest on  August 25, 2011, represents a unique ecosystem within a narrow belt of table top mountains of  ‘Vindhyan hill ranges’ and part of ‘Bundelkhand’ region. This includes the traditional agro-ecosystems, dry deciduous forests of Teak, Salai, Kardhai, bamboo and mixed types of forests.  The BR includes 3 protected areas Panna national park, Gangau and  Ken-Gharial sanctuaries. The Panna BR consists of three well delineated zones- 792.53 square kms of core area ,989.20 sq kms of buffer and 1219.25 km sq kms of transition zones . After Pachmarhi and Amarkantak BRs, Panna is third in the series highlighting the significance of forests in Madhya Pradesh. But they need to be preserved and protected. And our politicians need to be enlightened over the importance of forests and environment.
Banner picture : Tiger on a rock in Ken river inside Panna national park.Source unknown tourist


Popular posts from this blog

Fresh Tiger Crisis in MP Midst Favourable Poaching Conditions

Madhya Pradesh , the tiger state of India, is facing  fresh tiger threat. Four cases of suspected poaching around Bandhavgarh national park in the last one month and tragic tiger killing in a road accident near Panna national park rattled the state forest department. Experts believe that this is an ominous sign and should serve as a wake -up call for the government to continue the tiger success story in the state. Already facing the issues of multiple threats to the tiger corridors and habitat, the recent happenings revolve around the revenge killing and poaching. There is also an urgent need to initiate retrofitting measures in the parks like Panna , recently included in the list of UNESCO biosphere reserves. Disturbing Trends Around the National Park As the special task force (STF) of wildlife rush to investigate the tiger killings around Bandhavgarh national park- 4 in about 25 days of time- it is suspected that “organised poachers” are behind the killings. Quite a sensation was

Lantana: World’s Worst Weed Devouring Jungles

When people from the world of glamour take up some issue like conservation of forest and environment, the message is sent far and wide. Versatile Bollywood actor Rahul Singh, famous for films like Ghazi Attack, Tere Bin laden and  Delhi Belly among others,  decided to convert the  corona crisis into an opportunity and joined the  wonderful initiative of Inspector General of police Binita Singh to uproot Lantana ( Lantana Camara) from Sajjangarh  wildlife sanctuary in Udaipur. As the campaign continues, more and more people joined to get rid of one of the world’s 10 worst weeds,  fast spreading in the country' s forests.  Rahul Singh shares his views on the  issue. Tarachand I live near the 519.61 hectare Sajjangarh wildlife sanctuary in  Udaipur,  home to leopards, jackals,  jungle cats and a variety of antelopes and deer  including , sambhar ,cheetal  ( spotted deer) and blue bull or the nilgai among others .  But the beautiful forest known as crown of Udaipur is infested with Lan

Lonely Tiger Returns Home After One Decade

If tigers are solitary creatures, don't they get lonely and depressed? An interesting question ran by Quora on July 29, 2017. About three years later, a tiger itself seemed to have answered this query.  This tiger lived , alone ,in Kuno Palpur   Ntional Park of Madhya Pradesh for 10 years, yes, one decade !   Recently the elderly tiger reached his home Ranthambhore National Park , almost 100 kms away, safely. Code named T38 by the officials of this wonderful tiger reserve of Rajasthan some time in 2006 -07, the big cat was known as “Ranthambhore ka Sher '' in Kuno,   the park awaiting the arrival of lions for three decades now. For this reason, Madhya Pradesh has not relocated any tiger in the park to increase   their number and for the past 3650 days, T38   was living absolutely unaccompanied   . Interestingly , there was no tigress around and T38 spent a bachelor’s life. The predator would hunt and was quite healthy. A tiger expert of Wildlife Institute of India (WII