Ex Madhya Pradesh Minister Seen Picnicking In Protected Forest, Probe Ordered

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Ex Madhya Pradesh Minister Seen Picnicking In Protected Forest, Probe Ordered

Bhopal:

Madhya Pradesh’s chief wildlife warden has directed officials at the Satpura Tiger Reserve (STR) to launch a probe after an activist alleged that former forest minister Vijay Shah picnicked inside the core area of the protected forest.

Earlier, a video went viral purportedly showing Shah and a friend picnicking in the core area of STR in the Narmadapuram district and cooking chicken and other food items by igniting a fire, which is banned in reserve wildlife areas.

Wildlife and RTI activist Ajay Dube filed a complaint with the state’s chief wildlife warden Aseem Shrivastava, terming the incident a gross violation of the Wildlife Conservation Act as it may endanger the lives of the wild animals, including tigers, inside STR.

Shah remained unavailable for comments.

Shrivastava confirmed that a complaint was received in the matter, and he has directed the “officials concerned (of STR)” to probe it and submit a report.

In the viral video, purportedly shot by Shah himself, the former forest minister narrates the serene beauty of ‘Siddh Baba Pahadi’ and surrounding forests and valleys inside STR.

The BJP leader can also be heard asking his friend about the picnic and the food cooked, especially chicken, which was prepared by igniting a fire by forest officials. Shah’s friend is heard saying in the video that it was a good place where they are enjoying a picnic over “dal-baati”.

In the viral video, Shah also purportedly asks forest officials what they are cooking for them, to which they reply: “chicken and bharta”.

A battery of foresters can also be seen in the video making arrangements for the picnic, including preparing food and moving chairs.

Private vehicles are not allowed in the core area but rules were violated for the former minister, said the activist in his complaint to the chief wildlife warden.

Shah won from Harsud (ST) seat in the recently held assembly polls by a margin of 59,996 votes for the fourth time in a row. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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