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“It is not right in God’s sight to obey men rather than God.”

High Court serves notice on MP Govt over delay in notifying Ratapani tiger reserve

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh High Court on Tuesday served show caused on the state government for an undue delay in notifying Ratapani area as a tiger reserve despite receiving an ‘in-principle approval’ from the Centre in 2008.

The Jabalpur bench of the court has asked principal chief conservator of forest and chief wildlife warden to submit an explanation on the issue in response to a PIL filed by wildlife activist Ajay Dubey.

Court has issued notices to Madhya Pradesh government, NTCA and Moerf on the same matter, asking them to submit their reply by November 11.

The State Government and the Centre had been at loggerheads on this issue aimed at conservation of the endangered tigers, as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has categorically refused to shift tribal settlements to pave the way for the conversion of the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary into a tiger reserve.

Addressing the 15th national conference of Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad in 2010, Chouhan had said that he was not against protection of tigers, but would not do it at the cost of the poor. He said as the head of the Tiger State of the country, he is not averse to big cat conservation. But, he does not want it at the cost of the poor, especially the tribal.