Monday, May 07, 2007

Lion shifting may lead to public movement


Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

Print Edition


Rajkot/Ahmedabad: The shifting of lions from Gujarat to Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh will led to a mass movement in Gujarat.


            Several voluntary organizations are preparing to challenge the said decision in the Gujarat High Court and also launch a mass movement against the Centre’s decision to shift lions from Gujarat.


            Mahesh Pandya of Paryavaran Mitra, a non-government organization, has already taken a legal opinion against the decision to shift lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh.


            He said, “As soon as the Centre announces a date to shift the lions,Paryavaran Mitra and several like minded organizations will join hands and challenge the decision in the court.” He added “We admit that the state has failed to provide adequate protection to the lions in the state, but instead of shifting the lions out of Gujarat, there are several alternatives available with the Centre to shift them within the state.”


            Pandya said that soon a people’s movement will be launched in major cities of the state which will further be taken to villages. He said, “The ecological cycle of Gir and nearby areas depend upon lion. Shifting of lions will break this cycle. Spotted deer, chinkara and other small animal population will increase. Centre should rethink on its decision and the state forest department should find ways to save the lion.” Pandya also demanded that instead of shifting the lions, the Centre should monitor the efforts of state forest department for lion conservation.


            Meanwhile a nature club in Dhari-Forest Club-took out a rally and handed over a memorandum to the mamlatdar demanding lions should not be shifted out of Gujarat. Forest Club president M K Bharad demanded that the Centre should give adequate grants to the state for purchasing more equipment rather then shifting them.


            Hasmukh Dave, also a member of Forest Club, said, “From bandh to stopping vehicles carrying the lions out of Gir, Forest Club is geared up to go to any extent to protect the lions from being shifted out of Gujarat.” The club has been assured of the required support by traders from several villages and nearly cities, he added.


            Even the Maldhari community in their last meeting with Chief Minister Narendra Modi had made it clear that they would not allow a single lion to be shifted out of Gujarat.


Malde Bamrotiya, leader of the Gir Maldhari seva Samaj, said,”At no cost will we allow shifting of lions. We have told the CM that the community will go to any extent to protect the lions and Modi has also assured that his government will not give away even a cub.”


“The community is set to launch an agitation once the Centre announces the date of shifting lions,” he added.

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