Maharashtra Congress leader Nana Patole on Monday accused the Centre of deliberately bringing cheetahs from Nigeria to spread the lumpy skin disease. Patole, in a video shared by news agency ANI, explained that the lumpy skin disease virus existed in Nigeria for a long time and cheetahs also came to India from there. He added that the Centre is causing trouble for the farmers.
Responding to the state Congress President's remarks, BJP leader and Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia corrected him and said that the cheetahs were brought from Namibia and not Nigeria.
Eight cheetahs were brought to Gwalior from Namibia in a special plane as part of the cheetah reintroduction programme.
News agency ANI quoted Patole as saying, "PM has never spoken to the farmers during the black laws (farm laws) which they rolled back, and by bringing cheetahs from Namibia they are taking the revenge. The lumpy virus came in India after cheetahs were brought from Namibia on PM Modi's birthday".
"I have not seen such disease in my 55 years and not my ancestors, it is purposely brought so that these farmers will face losses, one can make out the spot on cheetahs brought in India and the spot of lumpy on the cows are same, this disease already existed in Namibia and now it's spreading in India," he added.
Countering Patole, BJP Leader and Cabinet Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha talking to ANI said, "This is a laughable statement from Doctor Patole, he from his statement has made this disease as a non-serious issue."
"Under the leadership of PM Modi, arrangements have been made for the cows to get vaccinated".
Mangal Prabhat Lodha also added, "if Sonia ji wants she can give her Nobel prize from Congress side."
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The homecoming of cheetahs
Notably, eight cheetahs (5 females and 3 males) were brought from Namibia as part of 'Project Cheetah' as part of the government's efforts to revitalise and diversify the country's wildlife and habitat.
Cheetahs brought from Namibia were introduced in India under Project Cheetah, which is the world's first inter-continental large wild carnivore translocation project.
The cheetah was declared extinct in India in 1952 and has been brought under an MoU signed earlier this year.
The historic reintroduction of Cheetahs in India is part of a long series of measures for ensuring sustainability and environment protection in the last eight years which has resulted in significant achievements in the area of environment protection and sustainability.
The coverage of Protected Areas which was 4.90 per cent of the country's geographical area in 2014 has now increased to 5.03 per cent.
(with ANI inputs)