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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation meet in Feb on tiger passes on canals

By Shishir Arya, TNN | Jan 29, 2013, 03.51 AM IST Controversial irrigation secretary back in actionMan who blew lid off Maharashtra irrigation scam seeks VRSState's '25% condition' on irrigation projects is disastrousAjit Pawar dada storms back, but has taint washed off?Did Sunil Tatkare mislead House on irrigation benefits? NAGPUR: With canals coming in the way of tiger habitat, the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) is now gearing up to build bridges over them for the big cats to cross over. As some of the irrigation canals pass through forests or their fringes, they cut off the two sides or block the tiger corridor hampering the movement of wildlife. The union ministry of environment and forests has stressed that a clearance can only be given to such projects if bridges are built or other measures taken. A meeting of the VIDC officials has been scheduled on February 21 in which the engineers concerned will be discussing a road map on the bridges or tiger passes. Six major canals pass through forest areas in the region which include the right bank canal and the one originating from the Mokhabardi reservoir under the Gosikhurd project. A joint inspection will be held with the forest department, which would be identifying the spots for the bridges, said a source in the state's irrigation department. It is expected that the forest department may insist on a bridge after every half a km. Apart from it, there would be steps for the animals to get down and drink water from the canal. However, it is common to have steps in the canals to undertake repair works also, added an official. The VIDC finds the current plan to be a better option in terms of financial calculations. An earlier proposal put up around a year ago entailed building 400-metre wide bridges at frequent intervals. That would have jacked up the overall cost for VIDC by close to 100 crore, the source said. It has been now planned to have 5 to 10 metre wide bridges instead, which would straightaway cut the expenditure to 10 crore, the officer said. "The bridges will have to be camouflaged with vegetation so as to look like a natural tract. So the concrete bridge will have a one-feet high padding of earth where grass would be grown," the officer added.

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