LUCKNOW: With the regime change in Uttar Pradesh, the dream projects of former Chief Minister Mayawati have been shelved for obvious reasons. The incomplete dream projects of Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, which had failed to turn into reality after his defeat in 2007 elections, are now being implemented by his son and new Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Topping the list of Mulayam’s dream projects is a lion safari at Etawah, the hometown of the Yadavs. The Forest and Wildlife officials have already started working on the safari. The area has also been identified and mapped. A proposal is soon going to be dispatched to the Chief Minister for earmarking the required funds. In his regime as the Chief Minister, the senior Yadav wanted to set up a lion safari at Etawah not only to attract the tourists, but also as a gift for the people of his hometown.
Known to be a dacoit-prone area, Etawah has picturesque long stretches of dense ravines and meandering rivers, including the famous Chambal. Despite having royal forts and old palaces, the district remains at the bottom as far as tourist activities are concerned. Nobody dares to visit the place as many cases of dacoity and kidnapping have been reported from the region.
In Mulayam’s previous regime, the Zoological Authority of India and the Union Government’s Forest and Environment Ministry had given in-principle nod to the lion project, but it could not see the light of the day due to the regime change in 2007. Talking to the Express, Planning Commission (Forest and Environment) member and an internationally acclaimed wildlife expert Ram Lakhan Singh said, “The lions are used to living in dry and open forests. Etawah is a suitable place for the safari.” Divisional Forest Officer Sudarshan Singh said the area was very conducive for the lion habitat.
In the previous regime, the cost of the project was about `19 crore and is expected to escalate this time. The lion safari at Etawah will be first of its kind in the state, while there are seven other lion safaris in the country.