Giving a new impetus to Project Tiger
Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009
JIM CORBETT PARK (Uttarakhand): Seeking to re-define the prestigious “Project Tiger” and introduce the concept of shared responsibility for all stakeholders, the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests has circulated a draft Cabinet Note mooting a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) to be signed by the Centre, the States and Director Project Tiger.
“The note will be put up before the Union Cabinet soon for approval. It seeks to lay out roles and responsibilities of all the stakeholders and also link the flow of funds from the National Tiger Conservation Authority. It seeks to put in place the concept of shared responsibility as saving and preserving the tiger is a national cause,” said Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh after a first-hand inspection of the sprawling Jim Corbett Park this past weekend and apprising himself of the key issues concerning this national heritage.
Mr. Ramesh, who has embarked upon a series of visits to all 37 tiger sanctuaries across the country, has already been to Bhadra in Karnataka besides the Corbett Park.
He also reviewed the resettlement and rehabilitation of forest-based Van Gujjars and other villagers from the core areas and underlined the need to involve the local population in protecting the bio-diversity and habitation of the jungles.
Talking about the ambitious plan to involve all stakeholders for the first time, Mr. Ramesh said the attempt would be to decentralise and empower the local managements to get the best out of the situation.
“The time has come to re-define Project Tiger with the changing times. These 37 sanctuaries account for nearly six per cent of the country’s forest land and it is time hi-tech management of the parks was undertaken. Our emphasis has to change from wildlife science to wildlife management,” he said.
Mr. Ramesh, who undertook an extensive tour of the core area of the Park on an elephant, said it was time modern systems including sensors and alarms were installed in the Park to tackle illegal entry and poaching. He also accepted in principle a request by the Park authorities for purchase of a micro-light aircraft to carry out surveillance of the core area.
He also emphasised the need to introduce the concept of a more powerful Environment Protection Authority with the responsibility to monitor things.
“Project Tiger has to be strengthened and taken further if not for anything else but to save our forests and eco-system. This can only be achieved with a motivated specialised official core group and involvement of the local inhabitants,” he asserted.