Hailing the win of Tamil documentary The Elephant Whisperers at the Oscars, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Monday (March 13) said he hoped that maybe the Modi government will not press ahead with the “widely opposed elephant-unfriendly” amendments to the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.
The former environment minister’s remarks came after the ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ created history at the 95th Academy Awards by becoming the maiden Indian production to win in the Documentary Short Subject category.
Reacting to the development, Congress general secretary Ramesh said, “It is wonderful that ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ has won an Oscar. Maybe, this will force the Modi govt not to press ahead with the widely opposed elephant-unfriendly amendments to the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.”
In 2010, the elephant had been declared the national heritage animal, noted the former environment minister.
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Ramesh had opposed many provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2022, when it was passed in the Rajya Sabha in December last year. He had opposed the bill in the form it was tabled and expressed apprehension over the provision related to transfer or transport of any live elephant “for any other purpose” as it could be misused.
The bill sought better management of protected areas and also provides for certain permitted activities like grazing or movement of livestock and bona fide use of drinking household water by local communities. While Rajya Sabha passed the bill in December, Lok Sabha had cleared the legislation in August last year during the Monsoon session.