Maldharis to be shifted out of Barda
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik
Gandhinagar: The Gir lions are one step closer to getting a new home. The state forest department has speeded up its plan to shift some of the endangered Asiatic lions to Barda Dungar sanctuary.
The department completed survey of Maldharis and have finally sent a proposal to the state government to relocate these families outside the sanctuary, said conservator of forest, Junagadh, MM Sharma. A senior official said, "In all, there are some 1,400 Maldhari families who will be shifted outside the sanctuary. Shifting of families would get funding from the Central government." The official said the department has identified alternative land for their relocation in Jam Jodhpur, Kutiyana, Upleta, Dhoraji and Gondal. The forest department has proposed land for construction of houses, area to keep individual cattle and also a place where the Maldharis would have the right to graze their cattle. The official said for every 100 families, there would be a dispensary. Apart from these, there would be a school building and roads. Sources said each family will get a compensation, which will be fixed by the government.
The forest department is proposing Rs 1 lakh as compensation for each family. Once the state government approves the proposal, it would be sent to the Centre. The relocation may take another six months and by December 2009, the lions would be shifted to Barda.