Gujarat’s pride in way of Asiatic lion translocation

A lioness in Gir
Sachin Rai
Crores of rupees have already been spent to create an alternative home in Madhya Pradesh for the Asiatic lion.

It’s almost official. Madhya Pradesh is not getting Asiatic Lions from Gujarat because the latter has linked the proposed translocation to its “Gujarat Asmita (Gujarat’s pride)”. “I wrote to Chief Minister Narendra Modi twice but the state has refused to part with its lions,” Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Saturday.

A meeting of the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) will be held in Delhi on September 16, 2009. Ramesh, who will chair the meeting, said it would discuss Madhya Pradesh’s proposal to shift zoo-bred lions to Kuno Palpur in the face of Gujarat’s refusal.

Crores of rupees have been spent on creating an alternative home in Madhya Pradesh for the Asiatic lion whose only home is Gujarat’s Gir sanctuary.

Residents of 24 villages have been shifted out of Kuno Palpur in Sheopur district but Gujarat has refused to spare its lions by citing “its better conservation record; by questioning MP’s ability to protect the big cat saying it failed to protect its tigers; and above all linking it to the local pride”.

Ramesh said MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had a better chance of convincing Modi because both states are ruled by the BJP. But the truth is the translocation did not take off even during the period when the NDA was ruling the Centre and both states had BJP governments.

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