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Will the Environment Finally Get Attention?

14th May, 2004

The Congress is poised to form the new government, and Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) hopes that it will be sensitive to the cause of the environment.

Mrs Indira Gandhi was probably the most committed prime minister that India has ever had in terms of the environment and wildlife. She outlawed commercial and recreational hunting in India, banned fur exports, and pushed for the drafting and implementation of The Wild Life (Protection) Act and the Forest Conservation Act. Project Tiger - for conservationists at least - will probably be remembered as her greatest achievement. Hailed as one of the most successful conservation strategies of its time, it allowed the tiger population in India to bounce back from near collapse.

Unfortunately, no subsequent Prime Minister has been able to match the heady conservation successes of the early seventies, often because of a profound lack of interest in environmental issues. While Rajiv Gandhi did set up the Ministry of Environment and Forests, his successors V.P. Singh, Chandrashekhar, P.V. Narsimha Rao, H.D. Deve Gowda, I.K. Gujral and A.B. Vajpayee will not be remembered as heroes of conservation.

Wildlife Protection Society of India now looks forward to the development and implementation of new policies under a new Congress led government. India urgently needs to develop a comprehensive and effective National Wildlife Management Plan and set up a strong, well trained and armed enforcement authority to deal with increasingly sophisticated and organised wildlife criminals

"The state of our wildlife, particularly the tiger, and our forests is in almost terminal decline," said Belinda Wright, Executive Director of WPSI. "With the election of this Congress-led coalition, we look forward to the revival of positive policies that reflect the commitment and concern of Indira Gandhi 30 years ago."


 

 

 

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