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Forests and our politicians

mumbai Updated: Mar 26, 2012 13:52 IST
Shailesh Gaikwad
Shailesh Gaikwad
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Nature lovers and environmentalists are shocked about the fire at the Tadoba tiger reserve, one of the most beautiful forests in Maharashtra that is also a part of Central India’s tiger corridor. According to reports, more than 2,000 hectares of the forest were destroyed in the fire, which started earlier this week. There is no information of how many hapless animals have fallen prey to the fire. There is no explanation as to why precautions were not taken by the forest authorities to prevent the spread of fire.


It appears that the senior forest officials are still clueless about the extent of the damage. It is unlikely that any officials will face action since protecting forests or the environment has never been on the agenda of our political parties, and hence of the government.

The Maharashtra government has announced a grand plan to plant 100 crore trees in the state, but what about protecting what you already have? Unfortunately, the posts in the forest department are not considered important ones by bureaucrats and politicians.

One can’t even remember the last time Maharashtra got a forest minister who was interested in the conservation and protection of forests.

Sadly, most ministers were accused of showing an interest in making money from illegal timber traders, saw-mills and encroachments on forest land.

One particular forest minister was more interested in utilising forest rest houses while another one went to jail for allowing saw mills near forests in defiance of a court order.

Our current forest minister has set his sights on the chief ministerial chair and is apparently not too bothered about what happens to forests. Little wonder, then, that he has not even uttered a word about the forest fire in Tadoba. If they are not interested in the department why don’t the political parties get an expert in forest conservation as the forest minister?

What exactly did sharad pawar tell sanjay kakade?

The candidature of Pune builder Sanjay Kakade had led to speculations that the election to six Rajya Sabha seats would cause horse-trading and a change of voting patterns, as small parties and independents supporting the government could have been wooed by different candidates.
Kakade, who had declared assets of Rs 350 crore, was known for his cordial relations with deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, and his candidature had led to several theories among
parties.

While some said he had the tacit support of Ajit Pawar (who was not happy with his uncle’s decision to field former Pune mayor Vandana Chavan for Rajya Sabha), others said the BJP was behind Kakade.

With chances of Kakade’s candidature affecting the ruling parties’ nominees, NCP boss Sharad Pawar summoned him for a meeting on Wednesday in Mumbai. A few minutes later, Kakade appeared at a press conference called by the NCP and declared that he was withdrawing his candidature. He also signed the papers to withdraw the candidature in front of journalists.

The question being asked in political circles is, exactly what did Pawar tell him?