NEW DELHI: Union ministers Prakash Javadekar and Maneka Gandhi Thursday sparred over culling of animals with Women and Child Development Minister accusing Environment Minister of showing lust for killing animals. Javadekar defended saying it was done on the request of the states.
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The outburst by Gandhi, an animal rights activist, came after Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has declared monkeys in Himachal Pradesh, wild boar in Uttarakhand and nilgai in Bihar as vermin which means these can be legally culled.
“Union Environment Ministry is writing to every state government allowing them to provide a list of animals that can be killed so that the Centre can give permission. This is happening for the first time. I don't understand this lust for killing of animals," said Gandhi, who has held the portfolio of environment minister from 1989-91.
She said that ministry in West Bengal gave permission to kill elephants, in Himachal monkey were allowed to kill while in Goa it was peacocks and wild boars in Maharashtra.
The union minister claimed that environment ministry is going ahead with culling of animals even when the wildlife departments of states are saying they do not wish to kill animals.
She said so far 53 wild boars have been killed in Chandrapur, Maharashtra and permission has been given to cull 50 more.
Javadekar was quick to react and said that it was part of scientific management of animal population and the permissions for killing animals designated as 'vermin' were restricted to particular areas and time period.
"As per existing law when farmers face a lot of problems and their crops are completely damaged and when state government sends a proposal, only then we allow (culling) and grant approval to the state government's proposal for a particular area and time period for scientific management. It is not a programme of the central government. The law is such," he said.
The environment ministry also issued an official statement saying culling is allowed under the law.
“There are many complaints from Members of Parliament, people’s representatives, state governments and farmers about their crops getting heavily damaged in certain parts of the country. There also, the process has been laid down in the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 under section 62. No amendment has been made by the Government to this Act. And nothing has been done beyond the procedure prescribed by law,” said Inspector General Wildlife, MoEF S K Khanduri.
Khanduri further said that as per the provision of law, if there are complaints about the wildlife conflict, then State Government has to submit the proposal.
“Till date, five states have submitted the proposal. The Ministry examines the proposal in detail and allows scientific management in a specific area for a limited time. There were complaints about wild boar, Blue bull and other animals. These proposals have been examined and given permission for scientific management for a limited time for a specific area in the three states of Uttarakhand, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh. Proposals of Maharashtra and Gujarat are still being examined,” he added.