The Centre's ambitious Ken-Betwa river linking, which will be inside PTR, will submerge 50 sq km of forest inside the protected area
Madhya Pradesh government's proposed Majhgaon medium irrigation project, which will submerge 78.6 hectare of Panna Tiger Reserve's (PTR) buffer area and require 426.7 hectare of forestland, has been cleared by the environment ministry's Forest Advisory Committee (FAC).
While granting in-principle approval for use of forestland from protected forest area, the FAC added a rider that clearance for use of forest falling in PTR's buffer will be given only after the project is granted a wildlife clearance by the National Board for Wildlife.
DNA reviewed a copy of the minutes of the FAC meet.
The Centre's ambitious Ken-Betwa river linking, which will be inside PTR, will submerge 50 sq km of forest inside the protected area.
Even as it gave in-principle approval for forestland use, FAC noted that in 2015 the Panna collector had issued a certificate for diversion of forest for the project before the proposal was approved by Centre.
The FAC, thus, asked the regional office of the environment ministry to investigate the matter under section 3A or 3B of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.
It also took note of action that has been initiated against engineers for beginning work on the project before seeking environmental clearance and asked the ministry to take action under Environment Protection Act, 1986.
Majhgaon irrigation project proposes to provide irrigation to 13,600 hectare in Panna district. It will displace 11 families from North Panna forest division and 40 from forestland falling in PTR.