Centre told to wind up Great Indian Bustard project

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Bhopal, July 25 (UNI) The non-sighting of near extinct Great Indian Bustard (Son Chiraiya) for more than 15 years has compelled the Madhya Pradesh government to request the Centre to wind up the 'Great Indian Bustard Project' in Shivpuri district.

It would facilitate sale and purchase of land in 33 villages coming under the Son Chiraiya Sanctuary at Karera.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made an announcement in this regard at a public meeting at Karera yesterday.

State Wildlife Board also decided to send a proposal to the Centre keeping in view the problems being faced by a large number of villagers after the Forest Conservation Act came in force.

According to Shivpuri's Madhav National Park Conservator of Forests Alok Kumar the project was started in 1981 to conserve the rare bird which numbered 24 in the protect area at that time. Later its number dwindled.

''Not a single bird was sighted since 1994,'' Mr Kumar said, adding that the Son Chiraiya Project also renamed as simply Karera Sanctuary in 1999.

Black bucks roam around the sanctuary spread over 202.21 sq km and its present strength is estimated to be more than 500. The sanctuary's 33 villages covering 146.60 sq km private land and 55.55 sq km government land.

Sale and purchase of land was also prohibited in the protected area posing manifold problems to the impoverished farmers.

Even the black bucks roaming the area causing damage to the standing crops.

People do not prefer to marry off their girls to the residents of these villages.

UNI KV SP 1731

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