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Friday, July 6, 2012

Anil Deshmukh to pursue Bandu Dhotre's demands

TNN | Jul 6, 2012, 01.29AM IST NAGPUR: With wildlife activist Bandu Dhotre's indefinite fast entering the fourth day, support is pouring in. On Thursday, state food and civil supplies minister Anil Deshmukh visited the fasting activist and said he would pursue the demands raised by Dhotre with government. Deshmukh was with Dhotre for over 25 minutes. He showed keen interest in the presentation by Dhotre on how tigers were being left to die outside Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) owing to poor protection. Dhotre pointed out that areas around Tadoba were the only living corridor in the country from where tigers disperse but as there was no wildlife management in these areas, tigers were being poached easily. The same situation persists in areas outside other sanctuaries. He also drew attention of Deshmukh towards a government order of 2003 that area under protection of a forest guard should be between 500-750 hectares. However, forest guards are routinely looking after over 1,500 hectares and also performing multiple other assignments. Deshmukh, who is aware of wildlife issues grappling Vidarbha, agreed with Dhotre demands of secret funds for intelligence gathering, a forensic lab for wildlife in Nagpur, rescue centre in Chandrapur, forest fire protection etc. He promised to take up the demands with forest minister Patangrao Kadam and secretary Praveen Pardeshi. Deshmukh even called up Kadam from the venue and talked to him over phone. Kadam also talked to Dhotre. Deshmukh appealed to Dhotre to call off the fast. However, Pardeshi has called a meeting at Mumbai to discuss the demands raised by Dhotre on Friday. A four-member team has left for Mumbai to meet Pardeshi. Meanwhile, chief wildlife warden SWH Naqvi on Thursday wrote to Dhotre on status of various demands raised by him. The outcome of the fast will depend on the talks with Pardeshi, sources in Dhotre camp said.

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