The Rajasthan government's plan to divert a chunk of forestland from a ghariyal sanctuary for its irrigation project would severely endanger rich biodiverse aquatic creatures such as dolphins, ghariyals and tortoise there, conservationists have warned.
The proposed land diversion (0.3 hectares) near Chambal River for Dholpur lift irrigation project involves not only clipping of an area but also retrieving of water from the sanctuary, Asad Rehmani, Director of Bombay Natural History Museum told PTI.
He said this would lead to low water flow in the river, putting the lives of the critically endangered aquatic creatures at peril.
"Dolphin has been declared as a national aquatic animal and the government cannot give nod for each and every project on the Chambal River where a few species are left. The region is an exclusive site for ghariyals as well," Rehmani added.
He referred to a study conducted by the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII), which stated that it was important to identify optimal water flow that needs to be maintained during critical drought period in the Chambal River.
The study also mentioned that dolphins prefer 13-14 mts depth of water for their foraging etc. Therefore, it was important to maintain this level of water in the river.
This issue came up during a recent meeting of standing committee of National Board for Wildlife, of which he is a member.