Context: Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given approval to the proposal of Ministry of Jal Shakti to complete the balance works of North Koel Reservoir Project at a revised cost of Rs 2,430 crores.
About the North Koel Reservoir Project
- North Koel Reservoir Project is an inter-state major irrigation project with command area lying in the States of Bihar & Jharkhand.
- The project comprises a dam on North Koel River near Kutku Village (Latehar District, Jharkhand) and a barrage 96 km downstream of dam (Palamu district, Jharkhand), Right Main Canal and Left Main Canal taking off water from the barrage.
- The dam was first propose in 1927 and construction was started in 1972. However, the fear that the water from the dam would threaten the Betla National Park and Palamu Tiger Reserve.
About North Koel River
- North Koel River is the second largest right bank tributary of River Sone.
- The North Koel river originates in the Ranchi Plateau and enters Palamau division, below Netarhat near Rud.
- North Koel River meets the Sone River in Haidargarh, Palamu district, Jharkhand.
- Important tributaries of North Koel River: Auranga, Amanat and Burha Rivers.
- North Koel River forms the northern boundary of Betla National Park.
About Betla National Park and Palamu Tiger Reserve
- Betla National Park is the only national park in the Jharkhand State.
- It is located on the western park of the Chhotanagpur plateau.
- A part of Betla National Park, was declared as the Palamu Tiger Reserve. (Included in the first 9 Tiger Reserves declared in 1974).
- Only Tiger Reserve in the Jharkhand.
- River Koel along with its tributaries meanders through the northern part of the Betla national park.
- Flora of Betla National Park: Betla National Park has a mix of tropical wet evergreen in the lower reaches and mixed deciduous forests in middle to temperate alpine forests in high altitude areas. Sal and Bamboo forests cover a major portion of the national park.
- Fauna of Betla National Park: Elephant, leopard, panther, monkey, Indian civet, chital, bison, sloth bear, sambhar, nilgai, langur, mouse deer, porcupine and chinkara etc.
- Indian Grey Wolf: The Betla National Park and Palamu Tiger Reserve have a thriving population of Indian Grey Wolf. Only wildlife sanctuary dedicated for the conservation for India Grey Wolf
- Interestingly the first ever tiger census by way of pug mark count, was undertaken within these forests in 1934.
- Famous hill station of Netarhat is located on the southern edge of the Betla National Park/Palamu Tiger Reserve.
- Palamu Tiger Reserve has forts built by Chero dynasty. Cheros were also known as Chyavana dynasty that ruled over the region of Bihar, UP and Jharkhand after the fall of Pala dynasty from the 12th to 19th century.