Jharkhand Current Affairs

Cabinet clears stalled North Koel Reservoir Project in Bihar

The Union Cabinet approved proposal to complete the balance works of North Koel Reservoir Project in Bihar, stalled since 1993. It also revived the project to address environmental concerns.

Under the revived project, storage of water in Mandal dam to be constructed under it will be will be restricted at lower level than envisaged earlier to reduce the submergence and to protect Betla National Park and Palamau Tiger Reserve. Moreover, a 24 MW power project as part of the original design also has been scrapped.

Background

The project is situated on the North Koel river, tributary on Sone River. It aims to provide irrigation to 111,521 hectares of land annually in the most backward and drought prone areas in Jharkhand and Bihar. The construction of the projected originally had started in 1972 and continued till 1993 when it was stopped by the Bihar forest department over environmental concerns. The Mandal dam as part of the project had threatened to submerge portions of the Palamau Tiger Reserve and Betla National Park. The National Wildlife Board (NWB) had cleared the project in June 2017 with certain conditions.

North Koel River

North Koel River rises on Ranchi plateau in Jharkhand. It joins the Sone River (only right bank tributary of Ganga River) a few miles north-west of Haidarnagar. Its principal tributaries are the Auranga and the Amanat. It meanders through the northern part of Betla National Park.

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Four States come together for elephant census

For the first time in India, four states Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have decided to conduct a synchronised elephant census in May 2017.

These four together have the maximum number of human-elephant conflict-prone regions in India. This decision was taken by senior Forest Department officials of the four States during a regional workshop.

Key Facts
  • These states will conduct the census based on an identical set of rules using the direct and indirect counting methods
  • The direct counting method is based on sighting of elephants while the indirect method uses the elephant ‘dung decay’ formula, in which the analysis of dung is used to estimate the population.
  • The indirect method has already been used by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Direct method can be used alone because it is not possible to cover entire area during the census
  • As per the 2015 census, Odisha has 1,954 elephants while Jharkhand has 700, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal had approximately 275 and 130 elephants, respectively.

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