The plan for ‘Project Cheetah’ was drafted in 2008-09 and approved by the previous Manmohan Singh-led UPA administration, the Congress claimed on Friday, a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi releases eight cheetahs transported from Namibia in a Madhya Pradesh national park.
The Congress party also claimed that the initiative was first halted in 2013 by the Supreme Court, but was then approved by the SC in 2020, clearing the way for the cheetahs to enter India.
In a tweet, the grand old party said, “The proposal for ‘Project Cheetah’ was prepared in 2008-09. Manmohan Singh’s government approved it. In April 2010, the then Minister of Forest and Environment Jairam Ramesh went to the Cheetah Out Reach Center in Africa. In 2013, the Supreme Court banned the project, and in 2020 the ban was lifted paving way for Cheetahs to come to India.”
Launching a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “PM rarely accepts continuity in governance. Not to mention my visit to Cape Town on 25.04.2010 for the Cheetah Project is the latest example of this. Today the PM created an unnecessary spectacle. It is an attempt to suppress national issues and divert attention from Bharat Jodo Yatra.”
He further said, “Many people were expressing apprehensions when tigers were first shifted to Panna and Sariska during 2009-11. They were proved wrong. Similar predictions are being made on Cheetah Project also. The professionals involved are very good. I wish you all the best for this project!”