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Vanishing tigers: The BJP's take

March 17, 2005 18:22 IST

Clawing at the Bharatiya Janata Party for the drop in the number of tigers in Sariska and Ranthambhore on Thursday, the Congress in Rajasthan demanded removal of the forests minister for protecting the interests of the mining lobby instead of conservation.

"Gross interference" by Forests Minister Laxmi Narayan Dave in functioning of the forest department left the area under Project Tiger open to poachers, senior Congress leader and former forests minister Beena Kak told reporters.

The missing tigers of Sariska

The project director in Sariska was changed twice in a year and even cattle guards were transfered on the minister's orders, she said.

"Dave also holds the portfolio of mines and is more interested in protecting the interests of the mining lobby, ignoring environmental concerns," she alleged.

External link: Project Tiger

She said Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's biggest mistake was giving the forest and mines portfolio to the same person.

Kak demanded that the forests portfolio be entrusted to a person genuinely concerned about conservation.

Alarmed by the reports of depleting tiger population due to poaching, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called for immediate action to save the endangered animals.

The Sariska Wildlife Reserve reportedly hasn't spotted a single tiger for over eight months.

The PM has also asked the Raje government to probe the matter.

Reports appeared in some newspapers in the past few days saying that Rajasthan forest department had apprehended a few poachers, who "confessed to killing tigers."

Reports said Forests Minister Dave too had questioned the poachers.

However, the Rajasthan government has not made any report public so far.

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More reports from Rajasthan
Read about: Assembly Election 2003

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