Centre nod for Narmada canal through wild ass sanctuary
The National Wildlife Board, at its standing committee meeting on Tuesday in Delhi, cleared the Gujarat government proposal to allow the Narmada canal to pass through the Little Rann of Kutch. The canal will bring Narmada waters into the southern coast of the Kutch district. A senior state official, who participated in the Delhi meeting, said that the Central board had cleared the construction of a 40-km-long canal stretch through the Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann. The canal, which will begin on the western tip of Santalpur taluka of Patan district bordering the Little Rann, will have to allow around 3,800 wild asses in the sanctuary smooth movement with the help of 18 safe passages and four siphons, the official said, adding, "The two sides of the canal have to be fenced to ensure that the animals do not fall into it.' Earlier, the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation had prepared a detailed report, identifying the movement of the wild ass in order to enable the Narmada canal to pass through the sanctuary. "The GEER foundation's recommendation has been broadly accepted, though with some modification,' the official said, adding, "However, the central board has asked the state forest department to study a few more areas where there are chances of wild ass movement.' The board's advisory, clearing the canal through the sanctuary, has now gone to the Central Empowered Committee, appointed by the Supreme Court, which gives the final word for any diversion of land in a reserved forest area, for developmental purpose.