Pench River

The Pench River is an Indian tributary of the Kanhan River. It originates in the Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh and flows across Pench National Park and Pench flows from north to south. The river runs across the Pench National Park, thus separating the Pench reserve into two halves of Eastern Pench and Western Pench. Major part of Eastern Pench lies in Maharashtra state where as Western Pench lies in Madhya Pradesh state. It is considered as the life line of Pench tiger reserve. All major nullahs, rivulets, that we see during Pench jungle safari, contributes to Pench river which ensures consistent water supply in this river. Their are two big dams of the Pench River to ensure water supply water to the city of Nagpur and to the big thermal power plant located there. These dams are Totladoh Dam and Pench Dam.

River & Jungle Book
Pench Tiger Reserve has noteworthy history of Central India. Pench Tiger Reserve has the natural beauty, richness in flora and fauna and the lovely tumble of the river has appeared in numerous wildlife books dating back to 17th century; moreover these are the elements Books written in the 19th and early 20th century by famous naturalists like Captain J. Forsyth and Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" simply present the comprehensive panorama of nature's wealth in this expanse. While reading this book, we will find reference of Mowgli often roaming near by a river which is same Pench river. Those scenes can be practically seen in Pench national park, during jungle safari drives. Although story is imaginary but mentioned animals, scenes, landscapes can been seen here. Even their was real life jungle-boy was captured from jungle so Seoni district, during British India time and later "The Jungle Book" was written with that character in mind.

River as Life-line
The Pench Tiger Reserve has derived its name after the Pench River, which flows from north to south across the Reserve. This fact is enough to understand the importance of this river. The Reserve is situated on the southern areas of the Satpura hill ranges in the Seoni and Chhindwara districts in the Madhya Pradesh state of India. The topography is undulating, with most of the area enclosed by small hill ranges and abrupt slopes on all the sides. The Pench River flowing through the center of the Reserve is usually dry by April but a number of water pools locally known as 'dohs' are found along the course of the river. These serve as waterholes for wild animals. Few perennial springs also exist in the region. Recently a number of earthen ponds and shallow wells have been created thus making well-distributed sources of water all over the reserve. While doing Pench Jungle Safari drives, we can find better wildlife nearby river belt. Large number of Malabar Pied Hornbills nest can be seen on trees located close to this river. Similarly, wild boar and sloth bear sighting is better close to this river. No only animals, presence of this river also attracted human society to settle close to this river belt as they get water for irrigation purpose and also local villagers had done lot of fishing in this river. But now a days, fishing is prohibited.

Popular social activist Medha Patkar and 16 supporters were arrested as they arrived here to protest against the upcoming Pench River Diversion Project. The under-construction Pench River Project has affected 300 farmers in 32 villages. As many as 116 of them belong to two villages, and are seeking additional compensation for their valuable submerged lands which is a main source of their livelihood. Madhya Pradesh State government has its own logics. As per them, this project is expected to irrigate Seoni and Chhindwara districts, besides providing water for a power plant. The Pench Diversion Project (Major), which is coming up near Machagora village on Pench River in Chhindwara district, may spark a water-war between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Officers of Madhya Pradesh say construction of dam near Machagora in Chourai tehsil is with an objective to provide irrigation to about 70,918 hectare land in Chhindwara and Seoni districts. Maharashtra state believes that this step will reduce the water inflow to lower laying dam and may result to water crises in their area. Although it is seems to be a dispute between two states but their is third angle also i.e. privatizing public water for benefit of a selective private groups who is taking all advantage of favored state Government. It is any example of nexus between State Governments and Private Firms to derive utmost benefit in the name of public welfare. It is not sure to what extent general public & jungle will be benefited but it is very much sure that private groups will be benefited with ruling party politicians. In coming days, dispute may arise more when side effects will be practically experienced.

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