Gujarat pushes centre for Rs.836 crore assistance for Lions

Gujarat pushes centre for Rs.836 crore assistance for Lions
By our special correspondent
Gandhinagar, 28 June, 2011

The Gujarat Government has demanded Rs.836.17 crore central assistance from the Government of India for the Lion conservation in Gir Sanctuary and National Park and for the unique Ring road surrounding it. The ring road will help in minimizing the man-animal clash and human activity in the region.

The State Government has recently pushed the central government again for these two ambitious projects.

The State Government in a formal communication wrote to the Ministry of Forest & Environment(MOEF) that,“ as per 2010 estimation Greater Gir area had about 411 Asiatic Lions.

Greater Gir, the only home of Asiatic Lion, needs to be intensively protected and managed with all out efforts in conservation of Asiatic Lions. In spite of successful conservation efforts over last four decades registering sustained increasing population trend the Asiatic Lion is still critically endangered on account of its total population being only about 411.Therefore the long-term attention for conservation of Asiatic Lion is required. In the recent times poaching of large cats for international market has imposed a serious threat to lions also.”

“The Government of Gujarat is taking utmost possible steps. Considering the need for additional resources and contribution of Government of India, the Government of Gujarat has submitted a proposal of “ THE LONG TERM CONSERVATION OF ASIATIC LION IN BRHUHAD GIR “. The project cost was Rs.262.36 Crore with Government of India’s share Rs.236.17 Crores and Government of Gujarat share of Rs. 26.19 Crore. The cost included the cost of relocation and rehabilitation of resident people and Gir Maldharies.

The proposal includes strengthening protection, habitat development, wild life health care and mitigating man-wild animal conflict situation, use of modern technology, eco development works, public awareness, eco tourism. “ wrote the state Government to the MOEF.

The MOEF has provided only Rs.120.46 lakh as financial and technical assistance to the State Government for protection and conservation of Asiatic Lions in Gir forest in last four years.

Gir National Park and sanctuary area is 1412.13 Sq. Km. Six State Highways and some minor roads pass through the Sanctuary and used by the local people. Existing Highways passing though the sanctuary affect movement of animals and Forest cover, increase Wildlife mortality with the volume of traffic and increase possibility of poaching. To reduce this traffic a project of “Garland/Ring road” around Gir forest has been proposed.

The State Government wrote to the MOEF that, “The proposed garland/ring road is estimated to be a length of 269 Km. The estimated cost of project is about Rs.600.00 Crores. The said project has been duly recommended by State Board of Wild life and is sent to Union Government on 2-06-2009 for consideration. The ring road proposed 14 over passes and 16 under passes on specific migratory path locations for safe passages to wild life while crossing Highways and immunize the protected area from traffic playing through human interference.’’