BHOPAL: Amid controversy over restarting a carcass utilization plant in Ratapani sanctuary, a district forest officer said the plant owned by animal husbandry department is polluting Narmada river. "It poses threat to wildlife in Ratapani sanctuary," said DFO Obedullaganj under whose jurisdiction the sanctuary falls. A letter written by the DFO in March last year to managing director MP livestock and poultry development corporation, obtained under RTI Act by activist Ajay Dubey, said, "The plant was established in 1995 and is illegal. Effluents from the plant are polluting Bhadner river, a tributary of Narmada, thus polluting Narmada."

Animal carcasses are polluting the whole area. We found decomposed animal bodies were littered all around, which could cause infection among wild animals in sanctuary, he said. The DFO asked the MD to ensure that the plant is shifted out of the sanctuary, the letter said. Two government agencies have been at loggerhead over the issue of restarting of carcass utilization plant inside Ratapani sanctuary.

Animal husbandry department sources said the plant is being run near Delawadi for long even before existence of the sanctuary. After dip in demand from West Bengal for poultry and fish feed produced at the plant and supplied to in 2006-07, it became inoperative. When the department tried to revive it in 2012-13, forest department raised objections. Managing director MP livestock and poultry development corporation Dr HBS Bhadoria told TOI, "The plant remained inoperative after forest department opposed it." He denied any pollution by it. "We have our own effluent treatment plant, which was certified by NEERI," he said.

Animal husbandry department defended the existence of plant because of decline in number of vultures, nature's scavengers consuming animal carcass. In official letter, principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) Narendra Kumar held animal husbandry department responsible for decline in number of vultures. "There are three species of vultures in the park. Animal husbandry department is responsible for decline in number of bird after veterinarians started prescribing declofen, a non-steroid banned anti-inflammatory drug to animals." When vultures feed on carcass of animal treated with this drug, they die, he said.

Source: Times of India (Dated 05 Apr 2015)