After lion show, make govt pay for bait!; Bonus For Villagers Who Sell Baits & Claim Compensation
Sasan: Call it the lion’s share, twice over. For every “lion show” organised in Gir — using unproductive cattle to be attacked and eaten by lions as tourists watch — there is a bonus for those providing these baits. While farmers here organise these shows to earn money from tourists or sell their ageing cows and buffaloes to organisers, they also claim compensation from the government to pay for the loss of livestock.
And, statistics with the forest department show that the number of applications and the compensation paid have shot up over the years.
On Tuesday, TOI reported how “live shows” are organised in and around the Gir sanctuary, where live baits are used to lure lions and groups of tourists pay anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 10,000 to watch them prey.
While a compensation of Rs 5,000 has to be paid for a milch cow, non-lactating cows fetch Rs 1,100. A non-lactating buffalo would fetch Rs 2,100.
Sources say that an elaborate racket is in place, whereby a beat guard of the forest department certifies that the animal was attacked and killed by a lion, despite knowing that the hapless bait was offered to the beast. The department pays the compensation on the basis of this certificate.
Conservator of forest (Junagadh range)