HYDERABAD: In a major relief for Telangana government, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) gave wildlife clearance for the Dr BR Ambedkar Pranahita Irrigation Canal project, in the 45th meeting of standing committee of NBWL held in New Delhi earlier this month.
The Rs 4,200 crore project was cleared by the Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects in March this year and was awaiting wildlife clearance as diversion of 622 hectare of forest land falling in the tiger corridor — connecting Kawal, Andhari and Indravathi tiger reserves — was required for construction of the irrigation canal. With wildlife clearance in hand, the process becomes easier for getting forest clearance.
18 conditions by NBWL
The wildlife clearance has been given by NBWL on the basis of 18 conditions to be followed by the Pranahita project implementing agency and to be ensured by Telangana forest department that the conditions are adhered to.
The conditions are as per suggestions made by a committee from Wildlife Institute of India (WII) which had visited the areas where canal construction is to take place. Focus of these conditions is on the construction of 18 eco-bridges over the canal for facilitating movement of tigers and other mammals from one side to another.
Telangana government will have more work at hand as the NBWL conditions stipulate that illegal encroachments should be removed from both sides of the canal. It also says that the construction work in forest areas must be conducted only after the work in non-forest areas is completed. It also says that the Net Present Value paid for forest clearance should be used for relocating villages located inside Kawal tiger reserve and improving conservation efforts in the reserve.
18 eco-bridges to be built over canal
Eco-bridges will be built in the reserve forest area over the canal for facilitating movement of tigers and other mammals
Design of these eco-bridges will be developed by WII scientists along with irrigation and forest department experts
More bridges can be constructed only after the first one is approved
These bridges will have to be monitored by camera traps operated by forest department staff