Thursday, April 18, 2013

Political parties up in arms on relocation of lions

Political parties up in arms on relocation of lions
The Times of India

Even as the government was seeking legal opinion on the translocation of lion, both the opposition parties in Gujarat, Congress and Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) have come down heavily on the state government for its failure to prevent the translocation of Gir lions to Madhya Pradesh.

The Congress has squarely held Narendra Modi led state government responsible for the Supreme Court's (SC) order on translocation of the Gir lion from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh.

Party spokesperson Manish Doshi said,"The SC order itself suggests that the SC too has felt the need of shifting Gir lions to Madhya Pradesh as the state government has failed to protect it. According to the last census, there are only 411 lions in Gir. Ninety two have died in the last two years which is shocking. If the government had spent some money for the safety of lions instead of costly tourism advertisements, this kind of need would have not have arisen."

The Congress has demanded that Gujarat government should file a curative petition against the order like it did for the order on Lokayukta given by the SC.

However, government spokesperson Nitin Patel said, "The SC has ordered to complete the relocation of lions in six months. We are studying the order in detail and taking views of legal experts. The state government opposed re-location of the lions to any other place from Gujarat at all the platforms whether legal or government. We will study the SC order in detail and then decide the next course of action.''

GPP has also come down heavily on its failure to defend the petition in the apex court. The government has failed to make proper representation and also raised valid technical issues in the Supreme Court. The population of the Gir lions in the past 10 years has been increasing. The population which was earlier restricted to Gir Sanctuary are now found from Porbandar to Bhavnagar.

General secretary, GPP, Gordhan Zadaphia claimed that the people of Gujarat are emotionally connected to the lions and it is this bonding which resulted in the increasing number of lions. Once upon a time, there were only 15 lions that were left in Gir, but it was the people's conservation efforts that saved these lions. Zadaphia said that the people of Gujarat will oppose and fight to protect these lions.

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