Friday, January 28, 2011

MP, Guj govts must fight it out: Jairam

MP, Guj govts must fight it out: Jairam
Times of India

Union Minister Had Earlier Said Kuno Palpur Can Be Asiatic Lions' 2nd Home

The union minister for forest and environment Jairam Ramesh added a fresh chapter to the Asiatic lion controversy by first suggesting that as per experts' suggestions, the Asiatic lions should have a second home in Kuno Palpur, Madhya Pradesh.

The minister was quick to retract from his earlier statement and later told TOI that he did not want to get into the dispute and that "the two governments – Gujarat and MP - should sort the issue on their own." The minister visited Sasan Gir Sanctuary in Junagadh district on Thursday. Ever since 1986, the two governments have been fighting a battle over whether or not to relocate lions to MP for the Kuno Palpur project. A petition is also pending in the Supreme Court seeking directions for relocation of lions.

Talking to TOI over phone from Junagadh, he said "the Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has made three to four representations to me asking to pressurise the Gujarat government to hand over lions. I have on one occasion asked the State Government to allocate lions, but now I have made it clear that it was between the two governments to fight it out and the union forest and environment ministry has no role to play. I have asked Chauhan to take it up with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi."

Jairam said the main concern is bio diversity. "The state has created new sanctuaries like Girnar, Mitiyala among others. The center is supporting the conservation project and Rs 50 crore in the next five years will be allocated to the state to open new sanctuaries. The allocation was under the Brihad Gir Development project." He said that the centre will support the Gujarat government to establish a genetic laboratory to develop a gene pool for the Asiatic Lions. The state has already formed three gene at Sakkarbag Zoo, Rampara Sanctuary and the forest area near Devaliya interpretation zone. Principal secretary, Gujarat forest and environment, SK Nanda said: "We informed him of the gene pool measures taken by the government, which he lauded and promised to support in future."

Wankaner an alternative site for cheetah?

Ahmedabad: After Gujarat lost the race to get cheetahs to Banni grassland in Kutch, a replacement site-Wankaner was suggested by the government for introducing cheetahs to the country. "I will ask the expert technical committee, formed under the chairmanship of Dr N K Ranjitsinh, to look into the alternative site although we have already shortlisted Kuno Palpur in MP and Gajner in Rajasthan for the allocation of Cheetahs," said Union minister for environment and forest Jairam Ramesh after receiving Wankaner as alternative site. Ramesh was in the state to review the Girnar ropeway project.

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