Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Modi, Chauhan in lion fight in SC

Modi, Chauhan in lion fight in SC
Deccan Chronicle By S. S. Negi

There seems to be no meeting point between the governments of two BJP stalwarts Narendra Modi and Shivraj Singh Chouhan on shifting of the Asiatic lions from Gir forests in Gujarat to Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

While the Chouhan government on Monday furnished details about the preparatory steps taken with "active support" of the Centre for comfortable living of five to eight Asiatic lions in Kuno but the Modi administration was not ready to part with even a single big cat out of the improved population of 300 in Gir till the Centre's proposal for reintroduction of "Cheetaha" is successfully implemented in Kuno.

"Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary is ready to support five to eight lions as the availability of prey-base for their survival has been improved to 85 per sq km by implementing the first and second stage of measures. This is far higher than the prey-base of about 49 per sq km in Gir for a population of nearly 300 lions," MP's counsel Vibha Makhija told a special forest bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and C.K. Prasad.

While reeling out year-wise data from 2005 onwards about improvement of prey-base for "comfortable" living of Lion in Kuno, MP government counsel said due to the steps taken it had a phenomenal increase from 29 per sq km in 2006 to 85.91 in 2011. But the Gujarat government had relied upon 2006 data to oppose the transfer last week, she said, adding these figures were based on various reports of conservation experts.

Ms Makhija said the improvement has been achieved with the joint efforts of the Centre and the state government during past ten years with the Union government providing financial assistance of about `600 crores for the project envisaging three-phased implementation.

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