With Tendulkar also giving his nod for Project Tiger, just days after Bachchan was announced as the face of the campaign, the forest department is now thinking of ways to accommodate the Master Blaster; he may be asked to promote the forest minister’s pet project, Van Dhan Jan Dhan
This is one quandary the forest department probably won’t mind facing again. Having knocked on the doors of, arguably, the biggest, shiniest stars of their respective fields to be the face of tiger conservation for Maharashtra, the state forest department received a happy surprise in the form of nods from both Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar.
Amitabh Bachchan and Sudhir Mungantiwar (right) at a function in the city to announce him as the ambassador of tiger conservation for the state on August 11
Spoilt for choice, but faced with a conundrum, the department decided to go with Big B because he gave his assent first. Unwilling to let go of the Master Blaster either, however, the department plans to make him the brand ambassador of Forests Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar’s pet project, Van Dhan Jan Dhan, hoping to score a twin win for the state.
On International Tiger Day, July 29, the state forests ministry had written to Bachchan as well as Tendulkar, asking them to be the ambassadors for Project Tiger. On August 10, the ministry got a favourable response from Bachchan. The actor met Mungantiwar the very next day and the deal was signed.
On August 13, Tendulkar sent a letter asking the ministry to share details of their expectations from him in the capacity of Tiger Ambassador. According to sources, the minister has decided to hold a meeting on Thursday regarding this and, in all likelihood, Tendulkar will be made the ambassador for the Van Dhan Jan Dhan project (see box).
A senior officer from the forest department said, “Bachchan had said that his letter should be treated as his consent to represent the state of Maharashtra as Tiger Ambassador. Whereas Tendulkar, in his letter, had said, ‘I request you to kindly share details of the expectations from me in the capacity of Tiger Ambassador of the state’.
The difference in both the letters is evident. Also, before we received Tendulkar’s letter, we had got the letter from Bachchan and everything had been confirmed.” “We do not, however, want to lose out on having Tendulkar as an ambassador and are looking for him to help us promote the Van Dhan Jan Dhan project, which was inaugurated in Nagpur on Sunday,” he added.
Forests Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told mid-day that Bachchan had been chosen the Tiger Ambassador because he had replied first and also because he had consented, while Tendulkar had sought a meeting. “I have asked for Tendulkar’s time, which we are most likely to get next week.
We will give him the option of being the ambassador for Van Dhan Jan Dhan or Harit Sena. We are working on various subjects related to forests in Maharashtra for which we can have Tendulkar as our brand ambassador. If he doesn’t like our proposal, we will ask him what he would like to promote for our ministry,” said Mungantiwar.
What they said
Date: August 10
May I at the outset first compliment you for having given this most essential campaign such detailed attention. Your expansive letter has educated me greatly on not just the tiger reserves within the state of Maharashtra, but also the finer points on the importance of this campaign.
Through this letter, I wish to accept your kind offer to render my service towards the state government’s initiative for Tiger Conservation. The letter may kindly be treated as my consent to represent the state of Maharashtra, as Tiger Ambassador. I look forward to hearing from you or your office.
Date: August 13
I compliment your team on the efforts being undertaken for Project Tiger, and would be happy to meet you to discuss this. I have always been concerned about tiger conservation and distinctly remember dedicating one of my Test centuries during my playing days, to increase awareness of the cause. I request you to kindly share details of the expectations from me in the capacity of Tiger Ambassador of the state and how can I promote the cause. I look forward to hearing from you.
The first Van Dhan Jan Dhan shop was inaugurated in Nagpur on Sunday by Mungantiwar. It is the first shop in Maharashtra that sells products made exclusively from materials available in the forest.
Some of the products that will be sold in the Van Dhan Jan Dhan shops, the first of which was inaugurated in Nagpur on Sunday
The shop will sell products like a glass for diabetics, honey, mahua sharbat, jam, ayurvedic oil etc and many more such shops are expected to come up all over the state.