The Congress today hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remark that "no constructive efforts" were made for decades to reintroduce cheetahs to India after the big cats were declared extinct in the country.
Sharing a letter, senior Congress leader and the party's communications head Jairam Ramesh said the Prime Minister "is a pathological liar".
"This was the letter that launched Project Cheetah in 2009. Our PM is a pathological liar. I couldn't lay my hands on this letter yesterday because of my preoccupation with the #BharatJodoYatra," he tweeted.
This was the letter that launched Project Cheetah in 2009. Our PM is a pathological liar. I couldn't lay my hands on this letter yesterday because of my preoccupation with the #BharatJodoYatrapic.twitter.com/3AQ18a4bSh— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) September 18, 2022
The letter shared by Mr Ramesh dates back to 2009. In the letter, Mr Ramesh, who held the portfolios of Environment and Forests in the UPA-II government, asks a functionary of the Wildlife Trust of India to prepare a roadmap for the reintroduction of cheetahs.
Prime Minister Modi yesterday released eight cheetahs flown in from Namibia into a quarantine enclosure at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh under a project aimed at reviving their population in India.
The cheetahs, renowned for their lightning speed, were wiped out from the country in the 1940s, primarily due to hunting and loss of habitat.
In 2012, a UPA government's plan to reintroduce the big cats was struck down by the Supreme Court after some conservationists argued that importing the African cheetah for reintroduction in India was against the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) reintroduction guidelines.
Five years later, in 2017, the National Tiger Conservation Authority filed an application before the court, arguing that the IUCN had accepted reintroduction of a species as a legitimate process.
The court then gave a go-ahead to the plan while ordering detailed study in the matter.