Bhopal: The Opposition Congress has asked the BJP-led Madhya Pradesh government to directly take up with their Gujarat counterparts the issue of trans location of Asiatic lions from there to a state sanctuary.
"Though Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan always talks about the state`s interests, but in the matter of shifting of Asiatic Lions from Gujarat`s Gir Forest to Kuno Palpur sanctuary, he is hardly doing anything in the interest of the people who were relocated from the area for trans location of lions," environmentalist and state Congress unit joint spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi said today.
"Chouhan should take up the matter with the top BJP leadership as the matter is between the two BJP-ruled states, without waiting for a court directive in the matter," Chaturvedi said.
The Supreme Court had on April 15 this year allowed trans location of Asiatic lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh, saying the species is under threat of extinction and needs a second home. However, Gujarat had decided to file a review petition in the matter.
Currently, there are about 400 Asiatic lions in Gujarat`s Gir sanctuary.
Chaturvedi also said that he will urge the state Congress manifesto committee chairman Suresh Pachouri to include the issue in the party`s manifesto as people from 24 villages were shifted from the Kuno Palpur area to facilitate a second home for Asiatic Lions.
"The forest department had relocated large number of people from the area for Asiatic Lions. At the same time, due to political rivalry between Chouhan and Modi the big cats are not being brought to the area without realising the pain and agony of large number of people who were forced to leave their homes," Chaturvedi alleged.
Citing a study conducted by an environmentalist in
Gujarat, he said that shifting of Asiatic Lions from Gir forest area to another location is genetically and environmentally beneficial for this gene as any natural calamity would wipe out the entire population of the carnivore.
Kuno Palpur wildlife sanctuary, home to many species of wild animals including wolves, leopards and nilgai, lies in the Sheopur district in north western Madhya Pradesh, about 120 kms from Gwalior.
According Wildlife Institute of India (WII) experts, the sanctuary is the most promising location to re-establish a free ranging population of the Asiatic lions and certified it ready to receive its first batch of trans located lions from Gir wildlife sanctuary where they are highly overpopulated, Chaturvedi said.
The sanctuary was selected as the reintroduction site for the Asiatic lions because the earlier range of the lions there was hunted into extinction in 1873, he added.