JAIPUR: The Congress government has assured Rajasthan High Court that work on the proposed captive breeding centre for the endangered Great Indian Bustard, locally known as ‘Godawan’, would start soon.
Responding to a Public Interest Litigation, the high court had voiced concern over the dwindling count of the bird in the state. It directed the state and the central government to present details of Rs 22 crore spent on protection of the endangered fowl species. Great Indian Bustard is accorded the status of a ‘state bird’ in Rajasthan.
The bench of Justice Sangeet Lodha and Justice Dinesh Mehta was on Friday informed by the state counsel that the village panchayats concerned had given their consent to providing land for captive breeding centres at Sursan in Kota and Ramdevra in Jaisalmer. The next hearing on the petition will be held on February 22.
The bird is found in five states, including Rajasthan. Over the last 20 years, their numbers have dwindled to just 4-5 in each of these states.
In Rajasthan, the bird’s population has come down to around 70. However, the official count of the endangered fowl species is said to be around 100.
“If this fowl species goes extinct, it will be a huge loss to bird enthusiasts as well as our future generations. Captive breeding should start at the earliest in Jaisalmer, which provides an ideal ambience for the same,” RN Mehrotra, former chief conservator of forest, Rajasthan, said. The state government had launched a captive breeding project eight years ago, but it failed to produce the desired results.