Neither Panna nor paani, says member of wildlife board

Dr. M.K. Ranjitsinh, Member of the State Wildlife Board, Madhya Pradesh, on the devastating impact of the proposed Ken-Betwa river link project

Updated - November 29, 2021 01:10 pm IST

Published - April 23, 2017 11:39 am IST

M.K. Ranjinsinh

M.K. Ranjinsinh

Why are you against the Ken-Betwa river linking project? After all, will it not bring water to a drought prone region?

I gave a dissenting note to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. And he tore it up, I was told. Some conservationists make it out to be a choice between the park or paani. But the way things are, we may not have either the park or paani . In my opinion, the area under submergence is the most productive for wildlife. It provides fodder and grass for the ungulate population. It will also submerge the habitat of the chowsingha and other species like the vulture. So you see it is not the quantum but the quality of habitat that will be affected that is important. Secondly, it will bisect the park and reduce the habitat for wildlife.

 

You have said the project will neither help wildlife nor bring water to the region. Why do you say that?

The past record of the Irrigation Department for most other projects is 50-60% of what they promise. If it says one lakh hectares will be been irrigated at the time of approval, actually only 55,000 hectares are irrigated. Then they ask for more money saying there has been cost escalation. Have we thought, for instance, about what happens to people on both sides of the river? Has a genuine cost-benefit analysis been done? Why should politicians decide the fate of a project like this? Look at the existing Bariyarpur dam project; it has delivered only a third of what was promised. Invariably, the costs are escalated. It was supposed to deliver about 2,33,000 ha. If the existing dam has not been able to fulfil its promise, where is the water for the new dam? If there is no surplus water and we know it, is that not hoodwinking the taxpayer?

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