Wednesday, December 23, 2020

To save wildlife, state govt says no airport in Rajura

Nagpur: The state government on Tuesday is said to have said ‘no’ to the Greenfield airport conceived by former forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar in Vihirgaon and Murti villages falling in the Tadoba-Kawal Tiger Reserve corridor.

Two days ago, Mungantiwar had raised the proposed airport issue in the Rajura range under Central Chanda division in the Assembly session following which deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar had called a meeting on Tuesday. It was attended by Mungantiwar, Maharashtra Airport Development Authority (MADC) and top government officials.

“The said proposal already has negative remarks on the file on the ground that it is a tiger corridor and hence, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, has already said ‘no’ but under alleged political pressure it agreed with stringent mitigation measures,” said sources.

“The government is also against the proposal as the area already has the presence of tigers, leopards, and other Schedule-I animals. Recently, a full-grown male tiger RT1 was captured after it killed 10 villagers. It took at least 9 months to capture the tiger in the Rajura forest. The project will increase man-animal conflict,” they said.

The then Chandrapur SV Ramarao had recommended the project in March 2020, but in his remarks, he clearly stated that compartment numbers 173, 200 and 593 fall in the functional tiger corridor between Tadoba-Kawal as per the Eastern Vidarbha Landscape (EVL) report on corridors by WII. The inspection report also mentions about the presence of tigers, leopards, sloth bears and herbivores.

The Rs75-100 crore airport project needs 75.24-hectare forest land of which 47.41 hectares is a reserve forest and 27.830 hectares is a protected forest. Over 3,817 trees will be felled and overall, the project needs 800 acres of land. The rejection of the project seems to be a big blow to Mungantiwar, who is also MLA from Ballarpur.

Talking to TOI, Mungantiwar said, “The proposed airport is in national interest. Apart from being used as an airport, it will bring in some defence products’ units under the ‘Make in India’ tag. The government has no problem while allowing the New Mumbai airport then why oppose it in Rajura?

The project is being scuttled just because some officials are against it and putting wrong notings. The WII has said yes to the project with mitigation measures. Being a prop-development leader, I will follow the issue till its logical end,” said Mungantiwar.

23/12/20 Vijay Pinarkar/Times of India

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment