M A I N   N E W S

Real jumbos lose out to statues

Lucknow, September 14
Scores of elephants statues are to come up in a memorial park here in the Uttar Pradesh capital city at a cost of crores of rupees. But for creation and maintenance of a special elephant reserve, the state government can spare only Rs 50 lakh.

The state’s forest department has decided to allocate an annual budget of Rs 50 lakh for the elephant reserve to come up in Bijnore district bordering Uttarakhand under the Project Elephant, an official said here on Sunday.

The official sources estimated the cost of the 60 stone elephants sculpted out of pink Dholpur stones at Chief Minister Mayawati’s dream project - Ambedkar Memorial - here at Rs 60 lakh per piece.

According to Uttar Pradesh’s chief wildlife conservator BK Patnaik, “While the regular number of elephants in the jungles of Bijnore was estimated at about 15-20, free movement of the animals from the adjoining forests of Uttarakhand often raises the numbers substantially.”

The state has barely 150 elephants and most of these are either part of the official teams of the state forest department or its wildlife parks.

A 740-sq km area has been earmarked for the proposed elephant park in Bijnore. It will depend largely on the floating elephant population from the neighbouring Uttarakhand, the official said.

“In order to provide a special status to the elephant, the government has titled the new scheme as Project Elephant,” Patnaik added.

Incidentally, elephant is the election symbol of Chief Minister Mayawati’s ruling Bahujan Samaj Party. — IANS



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