JAIPUR: The state government will soon constitute a dedicated committee to work on measures to boost conservation of the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) keeping in mind the development of villages in Desert National Park (DNP). He said that the committee would include elected representatives.
The assurance came from state forest minister Gajendra Singh when the matter was raised by Jaisalmer MLA Chottu Singh, who during the zero hour talked about the problems that the villagers living near DNP faced. "There are farmers whose farms fall into the demarcated DNP area and they are not allowed to farm there. They are stopped in the name of the strict rules framed for the conservation of the GIB,'' he said, and demanded that the state government make provisions for providing the basic amenities to the villages which fall in the DNP area. He also demanded action against officials who were harassing the villagers unnecessarily.
Forest minister Gajendra Singh, in his reply, admitted that there were certain problems faced by the villagers but said that the rules had to be enforced to protect the state bird GIB. "The figures are fast dwindling and there are only 100 GIBs. These are shy birds and move away from human settlements. Already we are facing problems as the GIB in DNP have chosen to move to the army's firing ranges in Jaisalmer,'' he informed the house.
He further said that the Rajasthan government had last year announced a Rs 12 crore Great Indian Bustard project. `"I admit that some part of the money received for the development of the DNP should be used for the development of the villages in the periphery,'' he said.