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Madhya Pradesh board snubs protests, clears Ken-Betwa rivers link project



THE TIMES OF INDIA
Deshdeep Saxena, TNN
Sep 23, 2015


BHOPAL: MP wildlife board, ignoring strong protests from some members on Tuesday cleared NDA government’s ambitious Ken-Betwa rivers link project. Scheduled to kick start from December this year, the project is now being referred to national wildlife board for final clearance.

River link project will come up at Panna national park where the best of tiger habitat is going to be submerged, something that is making wildlife experts apprehensive.

As chairman of the board, when chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that board is clearing the project, wildlife expert and former secretary of forest department Ranjeet Singh protested. He said the decision was being forced upon the board stating board is not a "project clearance" agency.

Sources said chief minister reacted saying "If you are prejudiced with the project and have come here with a pre- conceived notion then I cannot help."

Later talking to TOI, Singh said, "I am not prejudiced, it seems chief minister came with a pre conceived notion to get the project passed."

"It is sad day for Panna tiger reserve", Belinda Wright, a member of the board told TOI. "Independent members of the board tried their best to protest, but we failed," she said.

Singh and Belinda registered their protests in writing and asked the government to record it in the minutes the meeting that lasted for four hours.


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