Shepur, Madhya Pradesh:
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who released a seven-year-old cheetah in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park on his 72nd birthday, said the reintroduction of cheetahs would bring a new wave of cheetahs to the region. bless. However, residents of the area had little to cheer, as ground truth suggested they would continue to struggle after the festivities subsided.
The forests and villages surrounding the reserve, where these cheetahs brought from Namibia will inhabit, are severely malnourished and impoverished. There is also a serious shortage of employment.
NDTV goes to Kakra, one such village between Shivpuri and Sheopur. What we saw never appeared in the national media. It is claimed that now that the big cats have a home there, dramatic changes will transform the area. Even if it were true, wildlife experts estimate that it will take at least 20 to 25 years for these changes to occur. Large numbers of cheetahs could draw tourists here, create new opportunities and influence social change. Yet the near future remains bleak when state intervention is desperately needed.
The Madhya Pradesh government has acknowledged in the state assembly that more than 21,000 children in Sheopur are malnourished. Two weeks ago, a girl in the same district died of malnutrition. Malnutrition was officially eradicated here, as officials removed the names of starving children from lists as soon as they turned five.
There were also two or three malnourished children in the village of Kakra that NDTV traveled to.
Villagers say there are no job opportunities and extreme poverty there. Malnutrition in children. When asked if releasing the cheetahs would benefit them, they said they didn’t gain anything from it. “Their arrival will not have any impact on our situation,” they said.
In the area where Kuno National Park is located, some 23 villages are battling poverty and malnutrition. Their total population is about 56,000.
No one particular party dominates the region’s elections, with representatives from the BJP and Congress representing the region for decades. However, locals say none of their basic needs have been met so far.