The principal opposition Congress today staged a walkout in the Chhattisgarh Assembly demanding a probe into the mysterious death of 22 spotted deer in a zoo of Bilaspur district by a committee of the members of the house.
Raising the issue through a calling attention notice in the assembly, Congress legislator Umesh Patel said, "22 spotted deer, including female, most of whom were pregnant, died on January 15 at Kanan Pendari Zoo at Bilaspur. The forest officials were unaware of the incident and refrained from taking the responsibility of the incident."
He further alleged that some people associated with the ruling BJP had 'partied' at the zoo a night before the deer were found dead.
"Instead of taking care of the wild animal, the forest machinery was engaged in the hospitality of prominent people. The failure of government on the part of ensuring security to the wildlife in zoos and sanctuaries and create a favourable niche for them costing lives of the wild animals," he said.
In the reply Chief Minister Raman Singh claimed that no feast was held in the zoo.
Soon after the incident came to light, Joint Director, Veterinary Services Bilaspur and Dean, College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry Anjora Durg were asked to constitute committees to probe the case.
After the analysis of the sample of the body parts of the dead herbivores, both the probe committees indicated that the animals were infected by bacteria called Bacillus.
One of the committees also suspected that the animals could have died of anthrax, Singh said. However, after the analysis of the viscera, the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) Bareilly ruled out the possibility of anthrax behind the death. As per the direction of the Central Zoo Authority, a two-member committee is going to visit the zoo to further probe the matter, Raman Singh said.
"After that whatever will be their outcome of the investigation, I am ready to table it in the House and stern action will be taken if anybody is found guilty in this connection," he added.
Dissatisfied with his reply, senior Congress member Satyanarayan Sharma pressed the demand to constitute a house committee to probe the incident. However, since their demand was not taken into consideration, the Congress members staged a walkout.