Uttar Pradesh to promote development of elephant reserves

Lucknow, July 4: The ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh may have a pathological apathy for arch rival Bahujan Samaj Party but its symbol - the elephant - is in for some good time as the Akhilesh Yadav government has provided more funds for pachyderm reserves.

It has allotted ten times more funds for the upkeep, maintenance and development of elephant reserves in the state in the budget for 2014-15.

There have also been "instructions from the top for a complete overhaul of these reserves" and to "develop them as tourism hot spots", an official told IANS.

From Rs.7.75 lakh, the funds for the reserves have not been upped to Rs.83.50 lakh this time around.

Major elephant reserves in the state are Mohand, Shakumbhari, Barkala, Sahubala, Rajgarh, Badhapur and Amnagadh spread in the Nazeebabad, Saharanpur and Bijnor forest ranges. These were declared forest reserves in 2006 by the central government and it also gives funds to them, an official said.

The forest department has been asked by the state government to make villagers around these elephant reserves aware of the needs of the pachyderm, among other things and also suggest ways to end the man-animal conflict in these regions.

The state has also asked the tourism department to ensure that more and more tourists go to these places. Connecting these forest reserves to main highways through a network of link roads was also proposed.


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