300 crocodiles relocated to protect tourists at world’s tallest statue | World News
India has come under fire for relocating almost 300 crocodiles from the bottom of the new Statue of Unity so tourists can reach it by seaplane.
The reptiles are being lured into cages so they can be moved by truck elsewhere in the western state of Gujarat, where the world’s tallest statue at 597ft stands.
About a dozen have been moved so far from a reservoir that has been earmarked for a seaplane jetty.
Anuradha Sahu, a local forestry official, said the instruction to move the crocs had come from the government “for safety reasons as the tourists influx had increased”.
The statue of independence hero Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is more than twice the size of the Statue of Liberty.
Bittu Sahgal, editor of wildlife magazine Sanctuary Asia, criticised moving of the endangered crocodiles, tweeting: “Have we collectively lost our minds?”
Priyavrat Gadhvi, a member of the state wildlife board, said any relocation should not have taken place without a thorough scientific analysis beforehand.
The statue is located in a remote stretch in Narmada district, with the nearest city Vadodora being about 62 miles away.
There are no trains, and most tourists currently take a bus on a four-lane motorway from Vadodora.
More than 3,000 workers and 250 engineers worked on the construction of the statue which began in 2014 and cost £300m.