BAHAWALPUR: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, taking serious notice of the death of seven deer of the rare Chital specie at the local zoo, has directed Punjab Minister for Fisheries and Wildlife Samsam Bukhari to probe into the matter in order to fix responsibility.

Dawn learnt that the CM had sought a high-level inquiry body to determine the cause of the deer’s death and take strict action against the negligent zoo officials.

Wildlife Deputy Director (DD) Zahid Ali Rai said that following the CM’s orders, Minister Bukhari constituted an inquiry committee headed by Lahore Zoo Director Chaudhry Shafqat and veterinarians Dr Rizwan of Lahore Safari Park and Dr Moazzam Jalees of the Cholistan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Bahawalpur as its members.

Mr Rai said the committee members reached the zoo here on Monday and would take some time to prepare and submit their report to the wildlife minister who would further submit it to the chief minister. Any action would be taken in light of the committee’s findings.

The committee recorded the statements of Zoo Curator Ibrar Ahmed and other staff members concerned and inspected the deer enclosure where the deaths had occurred on Friday evening.

They also inspected the remaining fodder that was fed to the deceased deer. Samples of the fodder were also sent to a laboratory for chemical examination.

The DD said a preliminary report of the postmortem examination conducted by the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore on one of the deceased deer had been received and it indicated “possible food poisoning”.

However, the first inquiry committee constituted by the DD on Friday right after the incident was still conducting its probe.

Rai said the committee’s findings would be communicated to the government and action taken accordingly.

He said the samples collected from the dead deer had been sent to Lahore for forensic analysis, which may take eight weeks to examine. This, he claimed, was essential to have a complete set of reasons and identify the negligent officials, if any.

Meanwhile, the zoo curator claimed that medical aid was provided to all the deer but only 22 could survive.

VISUALLY IMPAIRED QUOTA: Bahawal Victoria Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Muhammad Aslam has said that five visually impaired persons will be hired soon to fill temporary vacancies in Class-IV under the government’s reserved quota for special persons.

He was briefing the district complaint redressal committee for special persons here on Monday. Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) Shahid Imran Marth, who chaired the meeting, directed Maintenance and Repair Executive Engineer Anwar Adil and other district heads of government departments to ensure the recruitment of special persons against their vacant posts on the three per cent quota reserved by the Punjab government.

Marth also directed the assistant commissioners of all six tehsils to visit the Bahimmat Buzurg Centres and ensure delivery of ATM cards to the deserving beneficiaries.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2020

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