Cheetahs' arrival in Kuno sees Sheopur property rates skyrocket
The Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh's Sheopur district will be the home for African cheetahs. The fastest-running mammal on the planet, which went extinct in India in the early 1950s, is returning to the country after over 70 years. Ever since the news about the cheetahs' arrival in Kuno was confirmed, the property rates in the village have more than doubled, claim the locals.
India is all set to welcome back the cheetah, which was declared extinct in the year 1952. More than 70 years later, the fastest-running animal on earth will once again be seen roaming in the jungles of India, as at least 20 African cheetahs are set to make Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park, their new home.
The return of cheetahs has brought India on the world map as it is the first inter-continental translocation project of a big cat involving three countries -- India, Namibia and South Africa. While eight cheetahs are arriving from Namibia, the rest of the 12 cheetahs will be translocated next month from South Africa.
Even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches India's most ambitious project of the re-introduction of cheetahs, the feline has already brought some good news for the locals.
The main gate of Kuno National Park lies in the Tiktoli village under Karahal tehsil in the Sheopur district. It is adjacent to Moravan village, which too falls under the same tehsil. Interestingly, the two villages were not known to people outside the tehsil, leave alone the district or the state. However, today, both these villages have found themselves on the global map, thanks to the cheetahs!
Not only have these two villages gained popularity among the wildlifers, but also among the tourism and hospitality industry. Since the time it was confirmed that the cheetahs would be brought to Kuno National Park, the property rates in the villages, have more than doubled.
While Tiktoli, with a population of roughly 300 families, is a tribal belt, the land there cannot be purchased by hoteliers and resort owners. Therefore, buyers have shown a keen interest in the adjacent village, Moravan -- a small village that houses roughly 150 to 200 families.
Speaking to Asianet Newsable, Ram Kishan, a local of Moravan, said: "When cheetahs were not here and there was no announcement, the rates were around Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh per bigha. However, ever since it was announced that the cheetahs would arrive here on September 17, rates have increased from Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh per bigha. Several parties have shown interest in buying land here whereas some have already brought it."
Another villager, Ram Sevak Gurjar, echoes Kishan's views. "The land rates have doubled now. They have increased only in Moravan village and not in any other village."
But this is not the only benefit that would help the locals of the area. The arrival of cheetahs is sure to increase tourism in Sheopur ten-fold, and at the same time, it will also generate employment opportunities for the locals.
Citing that, Jagdish Chaturvedi, a local from Moravan, said. "There will be an influx of foreign tourists in the area. Since (Prime Minister) Modi Ji is visiting, it is a matter of pride for us that our area and district's name will be known to people. A lot of hotels would open here which will also benefit the locals."