Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav on Tuesday held meetings in Gujarat's Sasan-Gir, home to the Gir National Park and Sanctuary, to review the ground situation for the implementation of the proposed 'Project Lion', said officials.
In his address to the nation on Independence Day in 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that his government will soon launch Project Lion to conserve Asiatic Lions and its landscape in a holistic manner.
Yadav was in Sasan Gir village of Junagadh district and visited the Gir National Park, the last abode of Asiatic lions, with state forest minister Kiritsinh Rana and MoS Jagdish Panchal on Monday evening and Tuesday morning, said a release by the Gujarat government.
He interacted with local guides, farmers, cattle-rearers living inside the core forest area, senior forest officials of the state, hotel and resort owners and people associated with NGOs, said Panchal.
"Yadav visited the forest area and held detailed discussions with officials and other stakeholders to review the ground situation for the proposed Project Lion," Rana told reporters.
According to Panchal, the Union Minister has given an assurance to resolve issues concerning forest-dwelling cattle rearers, such as schools for their children and adequate food for their cattle.
"The Central Government officials also held meetings with their state counterparts on current issues and challenges. Yadav's meeting was all about reviewing the situation for Project Lion and preparing a comprehensive action plan for wildlife conservation here," said Panchal.
During his visit, Yadav distributed cheques to 'Eco Development Committees' for various works, such as installing rooftop solar panels and for constructing modern classroom in Sasan, said a government release.
"Interacted with local communities in Gujarat's Gir. It is due to their efforts that Gir is now on the global tourist map. Handed over cheques for community welfare. We remain indebted for their contribution towards wildlife conservation, particularly lion conservation," Yadav tweeted.
Project Lion entails habitat development, modern technologies in lion management and addressing the issue of diseases among lions and its associated species through advanced world-class research and veterinary care, as per the environment ministry.
The project will address human-wildlife conflict and will involve local communities living in the vicinity and also provide livelihood opportunities
-With PTI Input.