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Friday, July 13, 2012

Bandu Dhotre ends fast, wins battle for tigers

STAFF REPORTER Wildlife activist Bandu Dhotre on Wednesday evening ended his hunger strike that he began on July 2, demanding effective steps for protection of tigers in the Vidarbha region, after the Maharashtra government agreed to accept almost all his demands. “The government has accepted almost all the demands put forward by us. Only the merger of the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra [FDCM] with territorial forests could not be fulfilled due to some technical reasons,” Mr. Dhotre told The Hindu. “But the government is going to come up with a comprehensive wildlife management plan for the FDCM in the next eight days. We hope tiger protection in this area will get a boost,” he said. “Chandrapur will be declared as a ‘tiger district’ and tigers in the non- protected areas will also be protected on the lines of protected areas,” said Swanand Soni, who participated in the negotiations with the government. Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam had called a meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday to discuss Mr. Dhotre’s demands. Five Ministers from Vidarbha — Anil Deshmukh, Rajendra Mulak, Nitin Raut, Sanjay Deotale and Shivajirao Moghe — participated in the talks. Swanand Soni, Shyam Pandharipandhhe and Dhirendra Malakalkar represented Mr. Dhotre in the meeting.

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