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Ken Betwa Project : Plan to Massacre Millions of Trees Give Goosebumps

 India should  drop the idea  of Ken Betwa  Linking Project (KBLP) which will require felling of  2 to 4  million trees in the emerald forests of Panna national park . Think of the  loss of this staggering  number of trees  in the backdrop of the  unprecedented summers that the country  experienced in the year 2024. Many parts of Bundelkhand where Panna  is situated recorded 49 degrees Celsius while the mercury  soared to 52.9 degrees C in Delhi, later corrected by the government to 50 degrees C (49.9). For a moment forget  the loss of tiger habitat  in the park, think over our own survival. Referring to the  special morphological significance and unique biodiversity of Panna national park, the central empowered committee of the Supreme Court  on the KBLP  observed ," implementing this project would result in the complete breakdown of the evolutionary processes of millions of years." It warned of the widespread ecological devastation.River Ken  is lifeline of  the tiger reser

Tiger Corridor : Now Satpuda Melghat National Parks Connectivity At Risk

Tiger Corridor  Now Satpuda Melghat National Parks

Much- hyped wildlife friendly NH7 passing   through the famous Kanha -Pench forest corridor and named after the two famous national parks should have 11.81 kms long under passes to let the wildlife have a safe passage. Instead the National Highways Authority of India (NHA) overlooked the rules and constructed only 4.41 km long underpasses compromising their dimensions.  Similarly in NH6, only 2.95 km of mitigation work was done against a schedule 8 kms length. Not everybody knows this truth.  Now NHAI seems to be completely violating the Wildlife (Protection) act 1973 while constructing a road patch on NH46 ( Hoshangabad -Betul). This is a functional tiger corridor connecting Melghat and Satpura tiger reserves. Now the connectivity is also as threatened as the tiger itself.

 No Lessons Learnt From NH6 Kanha- Pench Corridor

Tiger Corridor  Now Satpuda Melghat National Parks

The reduced length of structures in  MH6  and NH7  -connecting East with the West and  North with the South  respectively -for safety of the wildlife could be achieved   only after arduous court battles between conservationists and government authorities for close to a decade. The highway expansion was delayed for years. In 2008, the Wild Life Institute of India (WII) approached the apex court for a realignment of the road project. The NHAI refused to agree. Later, the agency also scaled down its own proposals and refused the mitigation plans proposed by WII.  The much diluted mitigation measures that we see today on NH7  are the results of many flip –flops ,political interventions and litigations .

Also readTiger's Epic Walk Raises Serious Environmental Issues

MP seems to have learnt no lessons from the dispute over wildlife mitigation on Pench-Kanha corridor (NH7) .Now a similar dispute has developed on Gwalior to Betul NH46 where MP forest department also looked the other way  undermining the  Wildlife (protection ) act  as the road construction work goes on to meet the deadline. Officials admitted that the 2012 project should have been referred to the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL)  for the mitigation  works.  But no lessons were learnt from the previous  experiences and  the  NHAI as well as MP forest department - allegedly under immense pressure from politicians -have chose to  bypass the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, by not taking the NBWL and NTCA clearances  while  expanding three corridor stretches — Baretha Ghat, Bhoura (in Betul) and Kesla Ghat (Hoshangabad). Forest department sources also said that the NHAI has expressed inability to construct underpasses because of the topography of the area. 

Also readAvni's killing: Core Issue of Tiger Corridors Lost in Oblivion

The Satpura-Melghat in Central India and Eastern Ghats is among the 32 major tiger corridors across the country mapped by the NTCA. Management interventions for these corridors are operationalized through a tiger conservation plan. Absence of mitigation would mean jeopardizing almost 10,000sqkm landscape integrity and also compromising a long-term viability of 70 plus population of tigers  in the Satpura-Melghat landscape and a colossal  loss of genetic diversity among endangered species .

Need to Preserve Connectivity 

Tiger Corridor Now Satpuda Melghat National Parks

Central India is considered to be the heart of India’s wildlife. It is home to some of India’s largest forest tracts, rich wildlife and indigenous people .It is also recognized by the NTCA as a region with the best potential s for long term tiger conservation. It harbors over 700 tigers in 19 tiger reserves .The faunal diversity includes some of the endangered species such as leopards,  sloth bear, gaur and the hard bound swamp deer. The tiger reserves and protected areas are connected by wildlife corridors falling outside the protected area network. These corridors provide connectivity and allow free movement of tigers and other wildlife from one forest area to another thereby connecting the source population and  ensuring  demographic and genetic viability. 

Also readBhopal's Urban Tigers Need Tiger Reserve Not Chain-Links Mr Chief Minister 

 Any infrastructure development in such landscapes should therefore consider the significance of the need to maintain connectivity between these animal populations. "With a declining prey densities and other more endangered co-predators occupying the same landscape, tiger corridors benefit not just tigers, but the entire gamut of wild animals that inhabit our forests", said Milind Pariwakam, IUCN’s Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group. " In other tiger range countries (TRCs), which harbour lesser number of tigers and in lower densities, corridors prove to be even more crucial", he said. 

Comments

  1. No doubt we find cheaters every where. Forest department is run by a poor minister who does not have the knowledge of all these actions taken by NHAI and the wildlife suffers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very informative and on point blog discussion, i am glad i came across this one, looking forward to bookmark you under regulars updates to read more from you, please visit wildlifekart.com to connect with me, i am sure i will learn lot of new things from your work

    ReplyDelete

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Ken Betwa Project : Plan to Massacre Millions of Trees Give Goosebumps

 India should  drop the idea  of Ken Betwa  Linking Project (KBLP) which will require felling of  2 to 4  million trees in the emerald forests of Panna national park . Think of the  loss of this staggering  number of trees  in the backdrop of the  unprecedented summers that the country  experienced in the year 2024. Many parts of Bundelkhand where Panna  is situated recorded 49 degrees Celsius while the mercury  soared to 52.9 degrees C in Delhi, later corrected by the government to 50 degrees C (49.9). For a moment forget  the loss of tiger habitat  in the park, think over our own survival. Referring to the  special morphological significance and unique biodiversity of Panna national park, the central empowered committee of the Supreme Court  on the KBLP  observed ," implementing this project would result in the complete breakdown of the evolutionary processes of millions of years." It warned of the widespread ecological devastation.River Ken  is lifeline of  the tiger reser