DNA Tuesday, July 7, 2009 9:16 IST Email
Ahmedabad: For the second consecutive year, the Union budget has left Asiatic lions in the lurch. Gujarat's demand for funds from the Central government for the lions' conservation has gone unheeded. On the other hand, over the past one year, Rs650 crore have been allotted for conservation of tigers.
The Gujarat government had sought Rs 60 crore for rehabilitation of 100 Maldharis from their habitat inside the sanctuary area in Gir forest in 2007 and Rs 20 crore in 2008. In its latest request, Gujarat had demanded Rs 10 crore. Rs50 crore was reserved in the Union budget as a one-time grant for tiger conservation in 2008-09 budget.
Principal conservator of forest (wildlife) Pradip Khanna said the state requires funds for lion conservation, to acquire land in the area surrounding the Gir sanctuary for the increasing lion population and gene-pool diversification.
However, the environmentalists in Gujarat are celebrating the Centre's National Action Plan on Climate Change. "Though it came about two years late, it is heartening that the plan has finally been put in place. It is depressing that the need for environment courts has not been mentioned in the budget altogether. We hope it would be addressed soon," said Mahesh Pandya, an environment activist.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org