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MP govt proposal for drawing water from Chambal river turned down by green panel to protect local species


NEW DELHI: While Madhya Pradesh government push for drawing fresh water from Chambal river, home to critically endangered gharials and the dolphins, a wildlife panel of Union environment ministry has turned down the proposal saying it will adversely impact the wildlife and has asked the state government to explore alternative sources of water. 

The Standing Committee of the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) in its meeting held last month decided to defer the proposal for use of 1.267 hectares of land from the National Chambal Sanctuary for construction of Intake Well in the Chambal River and for laying of drinking water pipeline to Sheopur in MP.

The IGF(WL) stated that the state’s Chief Wildlife Warden has not recommended the proposal considering that the intake well is proposed to be constructed in close proximity of the habitat of crocodile, gharial, Indian skimmers, turtle and dolphin.

In 2011, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) suggested that the minimum flow required to sustain the ideal habitat for gharial in the Chambal river is 151-165 m3/sec while for the dolphin the minimum flow required to sustain the ideal habitat is 266.42 -289.67 m3/sec.

But in December 2017, the WII again monitored the discharge of the Chambal which was found to be 67 m3/sec.

“So, taking water from the river will affect the wildlife adversely in the long run for sustaining a viable population of critically endangered schedule I species.

The Standing Committee of the NBWL in 2011 decided that no new projects could be considered by the said committee in the future for taking water from the Chambal river,” the wildlife board was informed.