On Thursday, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi levelled serious charges against the Environment Ministry. Gandhi, who is also a well known animal rights activist, slammed the Environment Ministry for allowing the killing of wild animals. She accused the ministry for its “lust” for killing. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar was quick to respond. He defended the action by saying the killing was allowed on the request of states to protect crops.
Maneka’s outburst came after the recent killing of ‘nilgai’ (blue bulls) in Bihar, which she termed as “biggest ever massacre”.
Maneka accused the Union Environment Ministry was “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,” Maneka said.
However, Javadekar insisted that it was “scientific management” of animal population and the permissions for killing animals designated as ‘vermin’ were restricted to particular areas and time period.
Maneka claimed the Centre allowed the killing of ‘nilgai’ in Bihar, elephants in West Bengal, monkeys in Himachal Pradesh, peacocks in Goa and wild boars in Chandrapur even when the wildlife departments of each of these states were against killing animals.
Maneka said 53 wild boars had been killed in drought-hit Chandrapur in Maharashtra and the Environment Ministry had allowed the killing of 50 more, even when the state wildlife department was against it.
For the Bihar incident, Maneka alleged that neither the village head nor the farmers had called for their killing.
Javadekar responded to the charge, by saying, “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.”
Meanwhile, the Opposition took the opportunity to slam the government.
“The Ministries do not have cohesion among them. This is not the first time such a thing is happening. All ministries are clashing and that is why work is stalled. There is lack of teamwork,” JD(U) spokesman Ajay Alok said.
NCP spokesperson Rahul Narvekar said, “There is no synchronisation between various ministries of the government, thanks to one single person dictating terms. This is another example of bad governance.”
(With inputs from PTI)