MUMBAI: While Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday announced that an inquiry would be conducted into procedural lapse, if any, in the killing of the man-eater tigress Avani, forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that the uproar over the killing of the tigress is out of inadequate or ill information.
While replying to questions raised by Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, Mungantiwar also pointed out that the hunter had killed a man-eater tiger in Pilibhit of Uttar Pradesh in 2009. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said that while he regrets the killing of the tigress, a probe shall be conducted for any procedural lapses in the killing.
Fadnavis was interacting with media persons at his official residence Varsha on the occasion of Diwali. When asked about the death of Avani, he said.
"It is sad for us all that a decision had to be taken to kill the tigress. But, it had become inevitable after the death of 13 people in the region. We shall still probe the issue to see if there were any procedural lapses." Fadnavis also tried to shield Union Minister Maneka Gandhi by saying, "Maneka ji's words were harsh. But, we should understand her feelings as she is an ardent animal lover first".
Meanwhile, in a bid to defend his ministry from the attack after the death of tigress, forest minister Sudhir Mungahtiwar, said that much of the criticism against his ministry was ill-informed.
"While Maharashtra had been a state that has done maximum efforts for conservation of forests and the tigers and there had been a good increase in the number of tigers in the state in past few years, the criticism is surprising and it is demoralizing for the forest staff which might prove counterproductive in terms of efforts being done," the forest minister said.
"The NTCA guidelines were followed while releasing orders regarding tranquilization and killing of the man-eater tigress after the death of 8 tribals, two women and the farmers in that area. No forest minister has powers to release such orders. So, these orders too were not released by me. Moreover, The orders were challenged in the High Court as well as the Supreme Court and both the courts upheld the forest department orders," Mungantiwar said.
He also added that the decision was taken only after local people had stopped going to fields out of fear of the tigress and the action was needed as the presence of the tiger in the area thus affected the livelihood of the locals.
While criticizing the union minister Maneka Gandhi's questions regarding the controversial hunter, Mungantiwar said that the hunter had been there on the panels of several states and that the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) from Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh (Ms Gandhi's constituency) too had certified him for the service of the forest department by killing a man-eater tiger in 2009.