Congress wants Maharashtra forest minister to go over tiger’s death

The Mumbai Congress has demanded the sacking and arrest of Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar in the shooting death of a tiger recently.

Claiming that the tigers are unsafe under Mungantiwar’s Ministry in the present Maharashtra Government, Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam said, “Sudhir Mungantiwar took over as Forest Minister in 2014 and, since then, 14, 16 and 21 tigers have died in the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively in Maharashtra.”

“The number of tiger deaths in the year 2017 is second highest in the country, after Madhya Pradesh. India’s biggest tiger Jay has been missing too. Does this bitter reality sound normal to Sudhir Mungantiwar? It is highly possible that Mungantiwar could be in nexus with the International poaching mafias. It is clear that our national animal isn’t safe under Mungantiwar’s rule,” he said.

Nirupam said that despite the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s rule of having a surveillance system installed in every tiger reserve in the country, Sudhir Mungantiwar had +conveniently refrained+ from doing thisl in Maharashtra time and again.

 “The Government of Maharashtra first floated a tender in August 2016, urging the tenderers to submit their respective tenders before September 2016. Despite the bidders submitting their bid, this tender was later scrapped. A year later, the State Government floated another tender in March 2017 urging the tenderers to submit their respective tenders before May 2017. However, this tender was scrapped too. All the other states with tiger reserves have installed surveillance systems except Maharashtra.”

 “When a surveillance system was installed as a small model in Chandrapur’s Chanda area, Sudhir Mungantiwar admitted that the location of the tigers and the activities of the poachers could both be tracked using the surveillance system. Is this why he hasn’t installed it in Maharashtra so that the poaching mafias can continue to kill tigers for huge monetary benefits?” Nirupam alleged, while urging people to participate in huge numbers in the Global March that would be held on November 11 in Mumbai from Worli Sea face at 4 pm to conclude at Dadar’s Shivaji Park.

 Actress and Animal lover Rupali Ganguly urged for cyber experts, forensic experts, forest experts, veterinarian and shooting experts to be a part of the inquiry committee to ensure fair inquiry and action into the tiger’s death.

 Pointing out that there have been repeated inconsistencies in the information provided by the State Government about the two missing cubs of the dead tigress, she said “The simple rule of ‘Sun down, Gun down’ — which implies that no animal can be tranquilized beyond sunset — too was violated in this case. If the Government could pay Rs. 5 lakh and hire a sharp shooter to kill the tigress, why aren’t they making optimum utilisation of the State machinery to find the Cubs now?”

 Animal-lovers Priyanka Timmins, Anupama Mukherjee and Bharat Sharma also questioned “Why the Government had declared the Tigress Avni as a man-eater.”

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