Vijay Pinjarkar,TNN | Feb 18, 2014, 02.18 AM IST NAGPUR: The 33-member state wildlife board, headed by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, will meet in Mumbai on Thursday to clear a hosts of irrigation, mining and road widening projects under eco-sensitive zones (ESZs) and buffer zones of various wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.
Interestingly, the first meeting of the reconstituted board comes ahead of Lok Sabha elections in April-May. The model code of conduct is likely to come in force in March first week, after which no decision would be taken.
This will be the eighth meeting of the board after January 14, 2013. According to sources, the project likely to be discussed at the meeting includes a medium irrigation project near Kanwali, which needs diversion of 34-hectare land near Radhanagri wildlife sanctuary, and falls in ESZ.
The irrigation project near Vasai in Thane district is also likely to be discussed. It needs diversion of 139-hectare land. Of this, 46- hectare is forest land. The project falls in the ESZ of Tungareshwar wildlife sanctuary.
Patia project in West Melghat, which requires 9.33-hectare forest land, has also been listed. Controversial irrigation projects like Alewadi and Ar-Kacheri in the buffer zone of Melghat Tiger Reserve, which stirred up trouble last year, will also be discussed in the meeting. While Alewadi needs diversion of 273-hectare land, it is 321.43 hectares for Ar-Kacheri. Villagers are opposed to both the projects.
The meeting will also discuss road widening project on National Highway 13 & 9 between Solapur-Bijapur and Solapur-Hyderabad. Both the roads fall in the ESZ of GIB Sanctuary in Nanaj (Solapur). A gasoline project hardly 1.80km from Bor and New Bor wildlife sanctuary will also be discussed. The gasoline is a Rs5,735-crore joint venture project of petroleum companies. A project for a cement terminal by Ultratech near Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in Borivali will also come up at the meeting.
Other controversial project includes Nagpur-based NECO's manganese mining project near Ramdondri in reserve forest (RF) near Mansinghdeo wildlife sanctuary. The company has sought 61-hectare RF land for mining in ESZ.
Other issues which will come up at the meeting include notifications of Koka (Bhandara) and Tamhni (Pune) sanctuaries. Issues on man-animal conflict, raised by one of the members Kishor Rithe, will also be taken up. Talks will also be held on providing compensation to victims of snake bites. Snakes are listed under various Schedules of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Projects To Be Discussed
* Gas pipeline project hardly 1.80km from Bor & New Bor wildlife sanctuaries near Nagpur
* Shirpur lift irrigation project and road widening on NH 13 & 9 near GIB sanctuary, Solapur
* Alewadi and Ar-Kacheri irrigation projects in buffer of Melghat tiger reserve