Gujarat lions become subject of debate in LS

New Delhi, Aug 9 Lions of Gujarat became a subject of debate in Lok Sabha today with SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav seeking a probe into the death of two big cats gifted to Uttar Pradesh.


Raising the issue, Yadav said the two lions were gifted by Gujarat to the Etawah Wildlife Lion Safari Park, a dream project of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and the senior Lok Sabha MP himself.

"My lions have died. (Narendra) Modi (as Gujarat Chief Minister) had gifted us. I want an inquiry into it. How did they die? What were the reasons? If there were shortcomings on our side, we will rectify. But I want a probe," Yadav said during Question Hour.

Responding to Yadav's request, Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said he would try to find out the reasons. "I will try to find out the reasons and revert to you. We will conduct a probe," he said. Altogether 4 lions were gifted to Uttar Pradesh by Gujarat three years ago.

After Mulayam Singh spoke, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia wanted to know whether some lions -- at least 40 -- could be relocated from Gir National Park of Gujarat to Panna Reserve Forest in Madhya Pradesh.

However, Dave did not reply to his supplementary, saying it was far away from the main question which was on bio diversity parks. Scindia's question prompted several MPs from Gujarat to say that lions of their state were not for Madhya Pradesh. This resulted in a verbal duel with the Congress leader.

The dispute between Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh over translocation of lions from Gir had already reached the Supreme Court which in 2013 allowed the translocation, saying the species was facing the threat of extinction and needed a second home. However, Gujarat has filed a review petition against this order.

The state contends that lions would not be safe in Madhya Pradesh, considering that tiger population in the Panna Reserve Forest in the state was dwindling.

Responding to another question, Dave said the Environment Ministry has not formulated any plan for the development of bio-diversity parks anywhere in India. However, the Delhi Development Authority has created Delhi bio-diversity foundation under the chairmanship of Delhi Lieutenant Governor.

"The foundation has taken initiative to develop 6 bio-diversity parks on the land under DDA's jurisdiction. Compensation paid to the land oustees or whose land had been acquired for the development of bio-diversity parks, falls within the preview of concerned land departments of state governments," he said.


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