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Lion relocation: MP Govt move trumps Gujarat

Expediting dashes off letter; Centre forms panel to oversee big cats’ transfer.
Hindustan Times | By Rahul Noronha, Bhopal
UPDATED ON JUL 26, 2013 10:30 AM IST

The Gujarat government, known for its proactive approach under chief minister Narendra Modi got a taste of its own medicine when the MP government used a window of opportunity arising from the pendency of the appeal filed by the Gujarat government at the Supreme Court in the matter pertaining to the relocation of Asiatic lions from Gir to Palpur Kuno to push for an early relocation of the big cats.

The MP government dashed off a letter to the union ministry of environment and forests asking it to ensure compliance of the April 15 order of the Supreme Court that cleared the transfer of lions from Gujarat to MP.

The Gujarat government had filed a review petition against the order at the Supreme Court in May.

The MP government seized this opportunity to demand a compliance of the order after which the union ministry set up a 12 member committee to oversee the transfer of lions. The first meeting of the committee has been fixed for July 29 at Delhi.

Sources said that the Gujarat government had expected that filing a review petition would buy them more time.

They had not anticipated the setting up of the committee now as they expected any development in the matter only after the disposal of the review petition.

Chief wild life warden (CWLW) MP, Narendra Kumar told HT that since the last order of the Supreme Court of April 15 asked the Centre to begin proceedings of the transfer by setting up a committee, we reminded the MoEF to expedite the matter.

“Consequently, the MoEF set up the committee and has initiated the process of transfer,” he said.

The 12 member committee includes additional director general ( wildlife), MoEF as the chairperson and has its members, the chief wildlife wardens of MP and Gujarat, member secretary, National Tiger Conservation Authority and experts from the Wildlife Institute of India, AJT Johnsingh, YB Jhala, Ravi Chellam, PR Sinha and MK Ranjitsinh.

The committee would decide the number of lions to be shifted, identify individual animals for shifting, monitor the shifting on behalf of the MoEF and provide technical inputs for translocation.

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