Gogoi slams Centre on lion deaths in Gujarat

Gogoi slams Centre on lion deaths in Gujarat

Unabated rhino poaching in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park has been one of BJP’s planks in the Assembly polls. Recently, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Prakash Javadekar credited the Centre for the rise in rhino population.

However, Assam Chief Minster Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday attributed this to the state government’s conservation efforts. Gogoi took a dig at Javadekar for taking credit for the rise in rhino population, and blamed the Centre for the dwindling number of Asiatic lions in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“When the Union government is so eager to claim credit, it (Centre) should also own the discredit for its alleged failure in checking the dwindling population of Asiatic lions in Gir forests in Gujarat,” Gogoi said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Rise in deaths of Asiatic lions has posed a threat on the very existence of wild cats which are found only in Gujarat.” Gogoi stated that the BJP governments’ “failure” both in Gujarat and Centre in saving the Asiatic lions casts doubts on the sincerity of the government in its wildlife conservation efforts.

In Gujarat, 76 lion deaths were reported in 2013, 78 in 2014, while the number increased to 91 in 2015. In the last five years, over 300 lion deaths were reported.

Gogoi advocated exhaustive conservation efforts in Gujarat in line with the one in Kaziranga National Park.

Gogoi said that according to a CAG report, the debt burden on Gujarat rose to Rs 1,50,153 crore, the third highest in the country. If the Gujarat model of development puts the state under a huge burden, it remains anybody’s guess how the country will fare if the same model is adopted, he said.

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