Madhya Pradesh was in global spotlight in 2022 when it became home to eight Namibian cheetahs, while a mega corridor came up near Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar Temple and the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra passed through the state during the year, which also saw an alleged serial killer targeting security guards in sleep.
Khargone city was under curfew for 24 days in April-May following violence during a Ram Navami procession.
On a positive front, Indore maintained its numero uno position as the cleanest city in the country in 2022.
The most important event for the state in the year was the airlifting of eight African cheetahs from Namibia and their release in the Kuno National Park (KNP), their new home in Sheopur district, rekindling hopes of revival of an animal species declared extinct in India 70 years ago.
The spotted cats, the world’s fastest land animal, were brought in a special aircraft from Windhoek in Namibia to Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and then moved to KNP.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at KNP and released the cheetahs into quarantine ‘bomas’ (small enclosures) for acclimatization in their new home on September 17, an event that coincided with his 72nd birthday.
The wild cats – five females and three males – are in the 30-66 months age group and are named Freddy, Alton, Savannah, Sasha, Obaan, Asha, Cibili and Saisa.
After their quarantine period got over, the cheetahs were released in larger enclosures, where they started killing their prey and will soon roam in the wild.
The last cheetah died in India in Koriya district in present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947 and the species was declared extinct in 1952.
The ambitious ‘African Cheetah Introduction Project in India’ was conceived in 2009 and it reached fruition 13 years later.
A spate of killings of security guards in sleep in the dead of night in Sagar district in September created panic in the Bundelkhand region and sent the police on a frantic manhunt.
The alleged serial killer, a teenager, was finally arrested in state capital Bhopal. In a span of just six days, the remorseless 18-year-old had killed four security guards – three in Sagar and one in Bhopal.
The alleged serial killer, Shivprasad Dhurve, also known as Shiva and Halku, was a resident of Kekra village in Sagar district.
According to the police and residents of Kekra village, the school dropout was a loner and harboured unexplained anger since his childhood and wanted to be “famous” and hog limelight by committing murders.
A curfew was clamped in Khargone town following violence during a Ram Navami procession on April 10. During the violence, shops and houses were damaged, vehicles torched and stones hurled.
The curfew was lifted 24 days later after peace returned to the town.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra entered Madhya Pradesh on November 23 and covered a distance of 380km over a span of 12 days before making its way into adjoining Rajasthan.
The foot march received good response from people in Madhya Pradesh and energized the Congress rank and file ahead of the Assembly polls, due in end-2023, in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled state.
The BJP took potshots at the mass outreach programme, which started from Tamil Nadu on September 7, with its senior leader and state home minister Narottam Mishra terming it as “Congress Chodo Yatra”, alluding to defections from the Opposition party, and just an event.
Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh shot back by stating that ”Bharat Jodo Yatra is a movement and not an event.” “An event never lasts for such a long period. The Bharat Jodo Yatra is of 140 days (it will culminate in Kashmir in early 2023) and no event can last so long,” Ramesh said.
Development of the Mahakal Lok corridor in the temple town of Ujjain was also an important event in 2022. The project is likely to substantially increase pilgrim footfalls in the religious town and give a fillip to the local economy.
Prime Minister Modi on October 11 inaugurated the 900 meter-long Mahakal Lok corridor built in the Mahakaleshwar Temple premises in Ujjain.
The total cost of the Mahakal Lok project is Rs 856 crore with Rs 351 crore spent in the first phase, an official said.
The Mahakaleshwar Temple Corridor Development Project will provide better amenities to devotees visiting the shrine, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and houses one of the 12 Jyotirlings (representation of Lord Shiva) in India.
The corridor has 108 aesthetically ornate pillars made of intricately carved sandstones that depict the ‘Anand Tandav Swaroop’ (Lord Shiva’s dance form), 200 statues and murals of Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti.
With an eye on tribal votes, the BJP government in the state celebrated “Janjatiya Gaurav Divas” with much fanfare on November 15. President Droupadi Murmu attended the main celebration event.
The day, the birth anniversary of tribal leader Birsa Munda, is also an occasion to recall the contributions of tribal freedom fighters.
In 2022, Indore, the state’s commercial hub, maintained its No.1 position as the cleanest city in the country for the sixth time in a row in the annual cleanliness survey.
Madhya Pradesh was also adjudged the best performing state under the cleanliness survey.