M.P. plan to set up new national park, sanctuaries

Staff Correspondent

To compensate for the submergence of the forest area by Narmada projects

BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh Government is considering proposals to set up a national park, two wildlife sanctuaries and two conservation reserves to compensate for the submergence of the forest area by the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar Projects on the Narmada river in Khandwa and Dewas districts.

This was highlighted at a meeting of the State Wildlife Board chaired by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan on Monday. The Board recommended the setting up of a wildlife sanctuary in Mathwar area of Jhabua district. It also recommended that the Forest Department examine the idea of declaring the Parsamaniya forest area on Panna-Satna border as a Conservation Reserve.

It was further decided at the Board meeting to set up a Wildlife Health and Forensic Centre in Jabalpur with the cooperation of the Union Government. A Rs.3.79-crore proposal for this purpose would be forwarded to the Centre soon.

Proposals for Sonchiraiya Sanctuary, construction of Charai Dang Reservoir in Ghatigaon and laying of a pipeline by the Gas Authority of India Ltd in the riverbed through the National Chambal Sanctuary were also approved.

The Board also recommended construction of a bridge across the Parvati river in this sanctuary.

An official statement here said that the Board supported the idea of promoting eco-tourism in Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary near Indore and it was agreed that in deference to public sentiments permission should be obtained from the Centre for setting up the sanctuary at some other place.

When contacted for comments on this count, Forest and wildlife experts were sceptical and unanimous in pointing out that eco-tourism should be promoted by maintaining the resource base and it should train people to respect ecology. There should be no effort to promote eco-tourism by changing the status of an existing Protected Area, they pointed out.