Gandhinagar, Thursday: Gujarat State Board of Wildlife at its emergent meeting presided over by ChiefMinister Narendra Modi here today decided to file review petition requesting Supreme Court to reconsider the latter’s directive for translocation shifting Asiatic lions from its only natural abode in Gir Sanctuary in Saurashtra region to Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh.
All the non-official members Board, experts in their own rights and dedicated to preservation and conservation of lions in Gujarat for umpteenth years, unanimously passed a resolution to oppose the move in the apex court.
The meeting specially recalled that it was the Supreme Court’s which had in the past rather praised the Gujarat Government’s efforts in the conservation of lion, in the course of seven affidavits filed in as many years in the apex court. The meeting also took note of the people’s uproar in and around Gir sanctuary against the latest apex court directive.
The members vociferously opposed the move, citing scientific examples and discussing likely environmental fallouts in case the lions were shifted to unfamiliar and unfavorable terrain as per the apex court directive.
They also urged that the government to take the best legal assistance to go threadbare deep into all the aspects of the case. Prima facie it appears that Supreme Court has gone by the arguments of National Wildlife Board and not what Gujarat Wildlife Board and Gujarat Government have to say. As per the federal structure of India, guaranteed under the Constitution, the contentions of the State Board do not seem to be quite considered.
The members reposed full faith in Gujarat Government’s capacity and contribution to reverse what at one time appeared to be lions going the extinction way. The Gir sanctuary continues to be the only natural abode of Asiatic lions in the world since the last 150 years, thanks to a unique emotional bond between the beasts and local populace.
Forest and Environment Minister Ganpat Vasava, Ministers of State Pradeepsinh Jadeja and Govindbhai Patel and Chief Secretary Varesh Sinha were present at the meeting. Senior Secretaries of Forest and Environment Department and Principal Chief Conservators of Forests also put across their views.