Animal Rights activist and BJP MP Maneka Gandhi has strongly opposed Madhya Pradesh forest minister Sartaj Singh's proposed move to simplify rules for hunting of wild boars and blue bulls as demanded by farmers and MLAs following damage to their crops by these animals.
"Let me clarify at the outset that this decision to permit hunting of wild boars and blue bull in the wild is not taken for the sake of farmers, but to benefit those private forest lodge operators who have cleints from Middle East and other countries," Maneka said from Delhi.
She alleged that it appears that the forest minister must have been influenced by these lodge operators to permit hunting of these innocent creatures.
Already the population of wild animals in the country is reducing and with this decision things will become more worrisome, the MP from Aaonla in Uttar Pradesh, said.
"If a hunter is allowed to shoot in the forest, what will happen to other endangered animals freely roaming in the wild. Will they not get disturbed by the bullet sound. What will happen if these animals after getting disturbed come down to villages and towns or in case instead of a wild boar or blue bull, an elephant got killed accidentally by these hunters," she asked.
The government should not allow such things to happen as already forest cover and population of wild animals is reducing in the country, she asserted.
Demanding sacking of Sartaj Singh from the post, Maneka said she will raise this issue with the BJP high command.
However, Forest Minister said there is no ban in the state on hunting of these animals since last 12 years, but due to stiff rules and regulations, people were unable to indulge in hunting, thus suffering damage to their crops.
"We have send a proposal to the state law ministry to simplify procedures for granting permission to hunt these animals. Once it clears the proposal then only we will implement it," Singh said.
The farmers and MLAs of the state have raised the issue of wild boars and blue bulls causing damage to the crops and have urged the state government to take necessary steps in this regard.
The permission to kill blue bull and wild boars causing damage to crops was given in 2000 by the state government by taking permission from the Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) R K Dave said.
However, he said that since the rules were so tough, nobody has so far taken permission for killing them in the state and therefore, it was felt that it should be simplified and a proposal in this regard is pending with the state government.