Raipur: Taking a jibe on health minister TS Singh Deo lending his support to the Surguja villagers opposing the Lemru Elephant Reserve project, BJP national vice president and former chief minister Raman Singh said that there is no point of protesting just for show off.
Taking to media persons on Friday, the former chief minister said that if you really want to protest, then take a full cabinet meeting to discuss about the decision of state government regarding Lemru Elephant Reserve project.
Villagers of about 39 villages of Surguja zone are opposing the expansion of Lemru Elephant Reserve approved by the state government. Singh said that the government has approved the project. “In the cabinet you support the decision of the government, and when you go to Surguja you talk to those who have been displaced from the project, then you speak in their favor. It is clear in the project that 39 villages will need to be partially and completely displaced. Then there was no meaning for its approval. Today when the report has been sent to the central government, what is the meaning of such protest?” he added.
Meanwhile, forest minister Mohammad Akbar had clarified that neither villages will be displaced for the reserve nor it will impact the community forest land rights. He said that even the fear of elephant-human conflict is baseless, as on the contrary the reserve would help in resolving the problem of elephant-human conflict. Akbar emphasized that under the leadership of Bhupesh Baghel, State Government is committed to protect the rights and interests of tribal people and forest dwellers. No step would be taken against their interest.
The cabinet unanimously approved the long-awaited demand of creation of Lemru Elephant Reserve and paved the way for the protection of elephant in Chhattisgarh in August last year.
LER will be one-of-its-kind of elephant reserve in the nation, which will not only serve as protected area and permanent habitat for the wild tuskers but also to minimize the number of human-elephant conflicts, destruction of properties, loss of human lives caused due to wild elephants. Moreover, it will contribute in conserving bio-diversity and wildlife. It should be noted that with the announcement of establishment of LER, State government has finally fulfilled long awaited demand and provided respite to the sufferings of people the elephant affected areas.
LER will be set-up as per the report and recommendations of centrally constituted Special High-Power Technical Committee (SHPTC). On the report of SHPTC, Government of India gave its consent for the formation of LER on 1995.48 sq. kms of forest areas on October 5, 2007. It includes forest lands of Korba, Kathghora and Dharamjaigarh Forest Divisions. The technical committee recommendations states that LER will provide huge protected area for the conservation of wild elephants where they get abundant amount of water, food and other facilities.