Taking a dim view of the death of four tiger cubs reportedly due to starvation in Chandrapur district, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday demanded that Maharashtra forest minister should take moral responsibility for the incident.
The Sena also said that in view of the incident, the government should start a nutritious food scheme for tigresses, that would help in saving lives of the big cats and their cubs.
"The cubs died because of a territory dispute between the Forest Department and Forest Development Corporation," an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' said on Tuesday. "On one hand the government has much publicised its tiger conservation scheme and on the other, the forest department could not stop cubs from dying due to malnutrition. If this continues, how will these government schemes work?" the ruling ally sought to know.
"Sudhir Mungantiwar holds the forest portfolio and the cubs have died in his home district. Thus, it is his moral responsibility now," the Sena said. It further said that, "The government should start a nutritious food scheme for tigresses so that lives of tigers, tigresses and their cubs can be saved."
The government needs to make efforts to immediately find the missing tigress (the mother of the four dead cubs) and if it has been poached, the poachers should be given the strictest possible punishment, it said.
The Sena also demanded strict punishment for those responsible for the death of the tiger cubs. Mungantiwar had on Monday said that the state government has decided to form an SIT, comprising officials from the CBI and the forest department to probe the sudden disappearance of the tigress, which led to the deaths of four cubs due to starvation.
The villagers of Pathri had on Sunday found the carcasses of three tiger cubs under Saoli forest range near Gosikhurd canal in Chandrapur. The spot is atleast 50 kms away from the Tadoba tiger sanctuary.
On being informed, the forest officials had searched the area and found another cub which was alive. It was taken to Chandrapur for treatment, but it did not survive.