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Stone Pelting on Tiger Cubs :Kanha Pench Corridor Becomes Conflict Zone

 Two tiger cubs- less than 6 month old- escaped the fury of a 5000 strong mob in a village located in Kanha-Pench corridor . Villagers tried to kill them by pelting stones when the cubs had reached a water body to quench their thirst. This issue  has highlighted again the plight of the fragmented tiger corridors. It also reminds the urgency to restore their sanctity. People Shouted Kill the Cubs Kill the Cubs  Wildlife is most vulnerable during summer, due to scarcity of resources. Water is the key limited resource inside jungles . Special monitoring ofwater holes should be carried out all along the corridors, to effectively deter such incidents, poaching of herbivores and poisoning of tigers and othercarnivores. In the scorching summer, the two cubs also reached a nearby waterbody . In the adjacent forest , the villagers were plucking tendu leaves- a minor forest produce  to  roll beedi , a thin cigarette or mini-cigar filled with tobacco flake and commonly wrapped in a tendu leaf. Th

Cry to Save Panna from Ken Betwa Project Gets Louder

A week after signing the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)   for the contentious Ken Betwa river link project, considered as the death warrant for Panna national park, Madhya Pradesh chief minister enjoyed the sylvan surroundings of the tiger reserve resting along with his family in a luxury jungle resort situated in the buffer zone of the park. And as he went around a safari watching the tiger, people in Panna city took to the streets appealing to him to save the tiger the day festival of colour Holi  was celebrated. Amidst the raging coronavirus, they did not assemble at one place. Instead they stood at different places of the city with slogans on  placards and protested silently. They urged Shivraj to reconsider the project and the proposed felling of lakhs of trees and save the national animal-the tiger . But as he spent time leisurely  in the jungle he  was apparently unaware of the cry to save the same forest.

 "Don't Cut 23 Lakh Trees"

Nature and wildlife lovers,  youth and children carried placards  and urged the chief minister to stop the proposed cutting  of 23 lakh trees . A child  raised a slogan, “ Mama , Save the Tigers.”   He said that trees should not be cut in a drought prone area.  It is said that  trees  influence rainfall, so with no rainfall , how would you  fill up the dam, he asks. Some protesters also carried  the posters near the buffer zone of the  park which attracted the attention of the passersby; they also  stood near the   famous Jugal Kishore temple where  Shivraj also visited.

Also read: Ken-Betwa Project:Dam of Doom for Panna Tiger Reserve

One of the slogans said, “ stop playing with nature” and the other read , “ Don’t cut 23 lakh trees and “ save the tigers.” Arun Singh, a senior journalist and a blogger appealed to the chief minister to save the national animal.  He said that the project would cost dearly for the environment and ecology of Bundelkhand, the backward region already bearing the brunt of climate change and facing erratic weather conditions of  droughts and floods.   Two days ago, former  BJP MLA from Panna Kusum Mehedel had already criticized the project  as it would lead  to the “ destruction of the tiger reserve”.

Apprehensions on the Rise: MP May Not Benefit  

Much before the people of Panna protested against the project, fourteen years ago, a district in Panna had punched holes  in the project and shot a letter to the then principal secretary of water resources department of Madhya Pradesh and said,” I will not hesitate to say that the first line 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.” In the state wildlife board meeting in 2015 where Shivraj as  the chairman of the Board had cleared the project,  a senior board member had commented , “ na pani milega na park” ( MP will neither get water nor the Panna park) .

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

Once completed, in an estimated nine years ,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 will lead to submergence of over 90 sq km area in the Panna Tiger Reserve, home to over 65 tigers.   Interestingly the green clearances required for such projects are yet to be issued and it is believed that the centre is pushing the project  because of the assembly elections due in Uttar Pradesh  next year.Experts believe that  the project would benefit the neighbouring as MP will bear the brunt of  submergence of emerald forests of Panna.

 Images:  People's protest in Panna


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