Manmohan concerned over unnatural deaths of tigers
New Delhi, March 20, 2010
Concerned over increasing incidents of unnatural deaths of tigers in various reserves in the country, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has decided to personally take up the matter with State Governments, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Saturday.
The Prime Minister expressed his concern during a meeting of the National Board for Wildlife Thursday, Mr. Ramesh told reporters here.
“The prime minister has agreed to lend weight of his office for monitoring state governments. He will also take up the matter with the chief ministers of various states, especially with the Uttarakhand government, as unnatural mortality of tigers have been reported from Corbett National Park,” he said.
According to Mr. Ramesh, 11 tigers were killed in first two months of 2010 while 66 tigers were killed last year.
“The normal mortality of tiger in a year is 30 but 66 were killed in 2009. Of these, 46 were killed inside tiger reserves while 20 were killed in forests. People from mafias to local politicians and many others are involved in it as they want the tiger population to dwindle so that the land can be used for mining or construction,” he added.
Mr. Ramesh said the state governments would be requested to expedite the process of notification of critical wildlife habitats under the Forests Rights Act, 2006 to minimise impacts on wildlife.
“There has been some progress on settlement of rights of people living in forests but not an inch has moved in protection of wildlife. Despite several reminders, many state governments have not taken steps for notifications of buffer zones in tiger reserves in the country. The delay in notification is not accidental but deliberate,” he said.
The meeting also discussed the relocation of people living on the periphery of tiger reserves. The government provides Rs.10 lakh as compensation to the relocated families.
“Out of 80,000 families to be relocated from tiger reserves, only 3,000 have been relocated so far. And 77,000 families have to be relocated over the next seven years, for which a total financial package of Rs. 8,000 crore would be required. There is a gap of Rs. 2,000 crore to Rs. 2,500 crore but we will able to make it,” he said.
According to Mr. Ramesh, the village relocation will not just be from tiger reserves but from any protected area wherever there is demand for such relocation.
“The government will support any voluntary relocation from any protected area and a compensation of Rs.10 lakh will be provided to the families,” he said.
There are 37 Project Tiger reserves in the country and 663 protected areas.