Goa minister says peacock cannot be called vermin

Panaji, Feb 15 (IANS) Goa Forest and Environment Minister Rajendra Arlekar on Monday said there was no possibility of the peacock, India’s national bird, being relegated to the list of vermin.

Arlekar was speaking to reporters a few days after Goa’s Agriculture Minister Ramesh Tawadkar said that the peacock, Great Indian bison, wild boar and certain species of monkeys could be soon declared vermin – or nuisance animals and birds.

“There is no question of peacock being called vermin,” Arlekar said.

Tawadkar on Friday said that a process was on to declare peacocks, bisons, wild boars and monkeys as vermin or nuisance animals because they were damaging farm crops and horticulture.

While the peacock is the national bird, the bison, also known as the ‘Gaur’, is the state animal of Goa.

“Some farmers said peacocks were damaging their crops in fields in hilly areas. The committee will also assess whether peacocks should be declared vermin or nuisance species,” Tawadkar had said.

The comments triggered a national uproar and political parties in Goa, including the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, condemned the comments.

State Congress president Luizinho Faleiro said the proposed move to brand the peacock and bison as vermin was “suicidal”.

The Goa BJP has also distanced itself from Tawadkar’s statement, with its spokeperson Pramod Sawant saying there were no plans to declare the peacock vermin.

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