Special Correspondent

CHANDIGARH: Haryana Minister of State for Forests and Tourism Kiran Choudhary on Monday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare the area around all the National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries as reserved area and also to set up a separate Wildlife Department at the Centre.

Ms. Choudhary met the Prime Minister in New Delhi and submitted a letter containing various demands, an official spokesman said here.

She pleaded that by reserving the area around National Parks and sanctuaries, the protection of animals could be ensured. She added that recently she had visited the Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh where she noticed that an eco-sensitive zone had not been prescribed.

She pointed out that the Central Government had prepared a scheme in 2007 for setting up eco-sensitive zones but no notification had been issued till date. Ms. Choudhary said that deforestation around the National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries was posing a serious threat to wildlife. Moreover, non-declaration of these areas as reserved was a violation of government directions.

She also pleaded for setting up an airport at Bhiwani saying she had made a similar request to Union Aviation Minister Praful Patel on February 11, 2006. Under the new policy recently announced by the Centre, an airport at Bhiwani could be set up. Besides the airport, a cargo hub of the Aviation Department could also be set up there. Bhiwani, she added, was located in the middle of Haryana adjoining Rajasthan and hence the setting up of an airport in this area would benefit the people of Haryana as well as of Rajasthan.

She also apprised Dr. Manmohan Singh of the “anomalies” that could arise in the salaries of Indian Forest Service officers as per the proposed recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission.

She said the Prime Minister had assured “appropriate action” on all the issues raised by her.