No rethink on green nod to Orissa irrigation project: Ramesh
Even as Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has maintained that there is no rethink over the green nod to Brutanga irrigation project proposed in Orissa, sources said it is under the scanner of the National Tiger Conservation Authority.delhi Updated: Sep 15, 2010 20:26 IST
Even as Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has maintained that there is no rethink over the green nod to Brutanga irrigation project proposed in Orissa, sources said it is under the scanner of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
"Wildlife in Satkosia tiger sanctuary would be under threat due to the proposed project. NTCA member secretary Rajesh Gopal would soon visit the sanctuary to study the impact it would have on the wildlife particularly movement of elephants and tigers," sources in the ministry said.
When asked, though Ramesh said that the project has received first phase clearance at the Forest Appraisal Committee last month, he, however, admitted that there are some minor issues to be sorted out.
"But, I categorically say that there is no rethinking over the project which would help lakhs of farmers and villagers in the state," he said.
The project is aimed at providing irrigation in 50,000 hectares of cultivable land in Nayagarh district.
Ramesh said the order granting forest clearance includes a large number of conditions intended to safeguard the wildlife, such as building overpasses to allow elephants to cross the canal.
However, local NGOs and wildlife activists have been up in arms against the nod to the project, saying it would affect movement of elephants across river Brutanga, on which a reservoir will be build submerging 1,500 hectares of land.
The FAC had met again last week expressing reservation over its impact on the wildlife as well as a huge chunk of tribal population, which would be displaced due to the project.
Sources say that further action in the proposed project would depend on the view taken by Gopal, head of the NTCA, which oversees Project Tiger in the country.