Shiv Sena files police complaint
Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN 18 August 2009, 06:37am IST
NAGPUR: The Maharajbagh Zoo controversy involving Maharashtra agriculture and guardian minister of Nagpur, Balasaheb Thorat, got a political twist with district Shiv Sena chief Shekhar Sawarbande filing a police complaint against the minister with the Sitabuldi police station on Monday evening.
The Central Zoo Authority (CZA), the statutory body under the Union ministry of environment & forest (MoEF), and the state forest department too reacted by seeking a report on the issue. On Saturday, Thorat had entered the cage of orphaned tiger cubs, brought from the wild to the Maharajbagh Zoo which is the only zoo in Vidarbha, in complete contravention of CZA rules and regulations.
It stipulates that only the animal’s keeper, a vet and a person authorized by the zoo director can enter and handle the animals. Dr BR Sharma, member-secretary of the CZA, said, “If it’s a forcible intrusion, the state minister could be fined up to Rs 2,000 or jailed for up to 6 months or both under section 38 (J) of the Wildlife Protection Act.
But in this case it wasn’t a forcible entry. He went inside with the zoo director’s permission. We have asked the zoo director to explain why he allowed the minister to get in and risked his life as well as that of the animal. The Maharajbagh zoo would take necessary action, if needed.” Sharma was categorical that Thorat should not have entered the cage nor the zoo controller allowed it. “However, derecognising the zoo is not the solution,” he added.