Poachers Will Be Punished Stringently - Jairam Ramesh
Admitting that the punishments for poaching were "laughable", the government on Monday said it was hoping for "comprehensive" amendments in the law to make it more stringent.
"Poaching is a serious issue but the penalties are laughable," Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said during question hour in the Rajya Sabha. "We are looking at comprehensive amendments in the law to make the punishment more stringent," he added.
In this context, he lamented that there had been "no action yet" in two high profile cases, one involving Bollywood star Salman Khan and the other former Indian cricket captain and Nawab of Pataudi Mansoor Ali Khan.
Both are accused of having poached blackbucks, which are venerated by the tribal groups in parts of Rajasthan and Haryana. The cases have been going on for 11 and six years respectively. "Punishment (for poaching) should be given quickly. We are looking at amendments (of the law) for this," Ramesh added.
He also admitted that 75 blackbucks had died at Rajasthan's Tal Chhaper sanctuary in May due to an administrative lapse.
"There was heavy rain. The average is 13 cm. Between May 28 and 30, there was more than 21 cm of rain. Due to this, 75 blackbucks died. There was no contingency planning. The central and state governments, as also the park administration, were caught napping," Ramesh said.
"I have asked the Wildlife Institute of India (at Dehradun) to conduct an enquiry)," he added.