Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh are pitted against each other over renaming of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, located around 238 km from Lucknow.
Mayawati has decided to rename the reserve - having over 50 tigers — after father of the Indian Constitution B.R. Ambedkar. Her decision is being seen as part of a spree to rename various places in the state after Ambedkar or Kansi Ram, the BSP founder.
Ramesh believes that Billy Arjan Singh, who was pivotal in convincing former PM Indira Gandhi to declare Dudhwa a national park in 1976, should get the honour instead.
“I fully share your admiration and respect for Dr Ambedkar. Whatever we do is not enough to acknowledge his magnificent contributions…” Ramesh said in a letter to Mayawati on Friday, asking her to reconsider the decision.
Singh, who died on January 1, 2010, had received many international awards for wildlife conservation and had received Padam Bhushan in 2006. Ramesh described him as a one who has contributed “immensely for shaping Dudhwa as a protected area”.
Ramesh believes that naming the park after Singh will go a long way in strengthening the bonds between the forest department and the outside experts to save India]s national animal, the tiger, whose population has dwindled to 1,411. This is not the first time that Mayawati and Ramesh are at loggerheads.
Earlier, environment ministry had opposed Mayawati’s Amebdkar parks but Ramesh was never at the forefront of the confrontation.
The ministry recently opposed UP government's proposed highway on the Ganga canal, where 10,000 trees will have to be cut.