Saturday, August 18, 2007

State seeks time on poaching petition


State seeks time on poaching petition

Times of India

AHMEDABAD: Worried about the increasing number of lion poaching cases in the state, Chandresh Rathod, a resident of Rajkot, has filed a petition at the Gujarat High Court. He is seeking directions for effective measures to protect the Asiatic lion and also transfer the investigation in the recent poaching cases to CBI.

The matter, which came up for hearing on Thursday, has been adjourned till September 11 after the state government sought time to file its reply about the action taken to prevent incidents of poaching.

The petitioner, through his counsel D R Bhatt, submitted that there have been a series of poaching incidents in the past few months in the Gir wildlife sanctuary — the abode of the rare Asiatic lion.

Responding to the PIL, a division Bench of Justice Y R Meena and Justice A S Dave, had issued notices to the state government, the forest department and the Union forest ministry to explain what measures were being taken to protect lions.

In the petition, Bhatt submitted that despite the presence of police, there were incidents of poaching. He argued that although police have been claiming to be inquiring into the matter, they have not taken any steps to nab the accused.

Rathod submitted that investigation into the incidents of poaching should be handed over to the CBI. He prayed that the high court should issue directions to the state government, the forest department and the Union government to construct parapets around the 9,000 open wells.

The petitioner also demanded that the government be directed to use hi-tech gadgets to curb the poaching menace. He also prayed that the government be directed to take steps to increase lion population in Gir.

Quoting various media reports, it was argued that the poaching incident had taken place about 500 metres off the Babariya range and the government officials were not aware about the incidents.

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