After Aarey, Maharashtra government shoots down Human dam project

After Aarey, Maharashtra government shoots down Human dam project

It has been almost two months since Uddhav Thackeray took over as the chief Minister of the state. The very first thing that he did after taking command was to put a stop at the Metro 3 car-shed, which was being constructed in Aarey. And now they have shot down the proposal to construct a Human dam in Chandrapur district. The CM clearly stated that the irrigation projects cannot hamper wildlife corridors.

This decision was announced by the CM in a meeting with with senior officials of the Forest and Water Resources departments. This meeting was also attended by some wildlife activists such as Kishor Rithe, Bandu Dhotre and Pradeep Apte.

Commenting on the same, Uddhav Thackeray in this meeting said, “Let me make it clear that my position in this matter is the same as that in the Aarey metro shed case. I am all for this project but it must not be done at the cost of tigers. Let’s not do this hastily,” said Thackeray.

The dam was to be constructed 3.5km land from Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. It would have resulted in the diversion of 1,950 hectare dense forest and a total of 1.50 lakh trees were to be cut for the project.

This human dam was first proposed in 1983. Ever since, it has been put on hold following several reservations from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and many wildlife activists. The reason for the objection by conservationists and forest officials is that the proposed dam is to be built in the buffer zone of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). They fear that this would destroy the wildlife corridor facilitating tiger movements across the whole landscape of Vidarbha. Environmentalist also feel that such a move would further intensify human-tiger conflicts in Chandrapur.

They have also pointed that there are many other irrigation projects coming up in the district, and in the light of same, this Human river project is not even needed.

There is a proposal being floated that suggesting shifting the dam 5km upstream, which will generate 6 TMC water, as opposed to 9 TMC in the first proposed option. Some sources believe that this move will help save tigers and corridor, and project will also come up.

Former state forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, who hails from Chandrapur has been pushing for this project. He was a part of the meeting on Friday too and pitched strongly for the project.

Actor Randeep Hooda is all praise for this move as he said, "To rise above vote bank politics and look at a brighter future for our planet, which we tend to overlook for short term gains, is to be applauded no end. I’m so happy that Uddhavji has taken a stand and lived up to our expectations. I hope all leaders can take inspiration from this and save the people from the environmental disaster we seem to be running towards. This should set a precedent keeping environment above politics and party lines. It is also important to revisit previously built projects, executed without much emphasis on environment and correct them with mitigation measures".

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