Prime Minister Modi leads by example on wildlife conservation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi exudes a sincerity and passion for wildlife conservation, a trait that is evident to anyone who has followed him over the years through his speeches and actions.
In several episodes of his weekly radio show “Mann ki Baat”, PM Modi came across as a true advocate for harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife. Especially when he talked about India as home to 500 species of migratory birds and urged people to suggest ways in which the country could help preserve these habitats.
Whether it was his childlike wonder when he shared the information about a rare fish species found in Meghalaya or when he happily recounted the heartwarming conservation efforts of Assam’s rare turtles, the Prime Minister’s dedication Minister of Wildlife Welfare is well known to radio listeners. program.
It was his commitment and enthusiasm for the wilderness that touched viewers when he starred in a famous nature television show.
The Prime Minister stated unequivocally that the country’s economic growth and development needs are as important as the conservation of wildlife and biodiversity, which is a unique treasure for the entire human race. In an episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ he invoked a Tamil poet to say that ‘what we know is but a handful of sand; what we don’t know is like a universe in itself, the same goes for the biodiversity of this country.
But the story goes further back in time when Prime Minister Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, a state that boasts of great natural and wildlife diversity. During his tenure of more than a decade, he has often insisted on ensuring that no harm is done to wild animals. He also worked to protect the mangroves along the coast. Chief Minister Modi’s efforts have yielded astonishing results in terms of population growth of Asiatic lions in Gir and wild ass in Rann of Kutch.
Over the past eight years, India has seen the spirit behind the Prime Minister’s words translated into action at all levels of wildlife conservation.
Take the example of highway megaprojects that are designed to be wildlife-friendly. The national road crossing the wildlife corridor of the Kanha-Pench Tiger Reserve will have three flyovers to ensure safe passage for the animal, although the project would cost more with these additions.
Similarly, the Delhi-Mumbai highway will have animal bridges every 500 meters around the Ranthambhore wildlife corridor for animals to cross safely. This will be replicated for the Mumbai-Nagpur highway with bridges as well as underpasses to prevent wildlife from encountering traffic.
Additionally, the use of technology under the Digital India mission has improved the quality and ease of wildlife census exercises in addition to providing efficiency in tracking conservation efforts. The vigor injected into the system has given amazing results.
Example: Over the past seven years, we have increased forest cover by more than 20,000 hectares, the equivalent of 15 Jim Corbett National Parks. The tiger population has recorded a growth of more than 30% in four years, helped by a 62% increase in the tiger conservation budget over the past eight years.
Additionally, government efforts have led to a substantial increase in the number of “protected areas,” and with them, the Asiatic lion and leopard population has also seen encouraging growth.
One of the main threats to wildlife is poaching, which is often practiced under political sanctuary, given the large sums involved in the illegal trade. The threat has plagued our wildlife habitats for years, but governments in the past have only paid lip service to combat it.
However, when political will is combined with honest intentions like under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the results are visible to everyone. Assam has witnessed an incredible turnaround in the poaching cases of the rare Kaziranga rhino. Between 2000 and 2015, a total of 153 rhinos were poached in the state, which fell to just one last year – the lowest in 21 years.
The same political will was displayed within the framework of the Namami Gange program initiated by the Narendra Modi government. The task of cleaning up Ganga had started to look like an impossible dream until ten years ago, but the progress since the current government took over is extremely promising. This is amply reflected in the growing population of Ganges river dolphins which is a direct result of river habitat restoration.
The Ganga revival project has been planned meticulously and is making leaps and bounds with the installation of sewage treatment plants along Ganga. After putting in place a system to monitor industrial effluents, ensure reforestation along the river and clean up the surface of the river, the declining Gangetic biodiversity has not only survived, but is poised to thrive.
PM Modi embodies the inherent respect and adoration that Indians in general have for wildlife. It manifests itself deeply in the lives of traditional women in Gir National Park in Gujarat and Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh who are employed as rangers. In Pench, women run the businesses that welcome tourists, making it the economic backbone of their families.
The magnificent funeral granted recently to the legendary tigress Collarwali in Madhya Pradesh is another example of the natural connection our people have with wildlife. This is what distinguished India from other cultures and civilizations in the past.
Shazia Ilmi is the national spokesperson for the BJP. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the position of this publication.
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