North Koel project: No waiving of compensation
Despite the backing of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Environment Ministry’s expert panel on forest clearances has rejected the Jharkhand and Bihar governments’ plea to waive compensation for diverting over 1,000 hectares of forest land as part of the North Koel irrigation project, Ministry documents show. The North Koel irrigation project, when operational, would submerge 1,165 hectares of land in Palamu tiger reserve, which is home to tigers, bisons and elephants. The expert panel has also asked the state governments to find suitable land for compensatory afforestation.
The North Koel project, work on which began in the 1970s, has got a renewed push from the PMO and Water Ministry. As a result, the Water Ministry is pursuing pending environmental clearances for the project. As part of this renewed push to obtain clearances, the PMO held a meeting, under the chairmanship of Nripendra Misra, with the Jharkhand and Bihar governments. In this meeting, it was decided that the dam’s full reservoir level would be reduced to minimise the submergence area inside Palamu tiger reserve. In the same meeting, the states also decided that since it will be difficult to find a contiguous chunk of land for compensatory afforestation, an exemption should …read more