Posted online: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 0053 hrs IST
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 19
The reasons for tiger deaths in the country are beginning to show.Members of the National Board for Wildlife, the apex conservation body chaired by the Prime Minister, wrote to him on Tuesday saying decisions approved by him, including the one on forming a sub-committee for the tiger, are not being followed and even minutes of meetings are not being properly recorded.
The board has 15 independent members, who say that a sub-committee formed to look into the issue of tiger conservation has not actually been formed. “The National Board for Wildlife is failing the nation as the minutes of meetings are being erroneously recorded,” they said.
In a meeting of the Standing Committee with Minister of Forests and Wildlife S Regupathy on Tuesday, the members said that they could no longer be a part of any decision until the ones taken in previous meetings were followed up.
The members had written to the PM on December 24 also, where they gave an instance of “erroneous recording of the minutes of the meetings”. It was decided in one of the meetings to take “immediate measures to create a Tiger Protection force”.
However, members pointed out that “this was recorded as Central assistance is being provided for creation of a Tiger Protection Force comprising ex-Army personnel and people from local communities complementing the efforts of the field staff”. Such an approach was diluting the issue, they added.
Some of the decisions taken on November last year included formation of a sub-committee to look into tiger conservation, marine protected areas and the impact of the Forest Rights Act.
“We are disappointed and disillusioned by the manner in which the NBWL is functioning, and are seriously concerned that despite the productive meeting chaired by you, there has been virtually no progress on the important decisions,” their latest letter to the Prime Minister said.
“Since these key decisions are not being followed, the independent members of the National Board for Wildlife will not participate in any fresh decisions till the old ones are followed. This kind of attitude is not only harming the tiger but also other Indian wildlife”, said Dr Bibabh Talukdar, a Standing Committee member after attending Tuesday’s meeting.
“The minutes of the meetings are not being taken down. There was also a decision to include more independent members in the Standing Committee, but that has been disregarded too,” says Belinda Wright, an eminent conservationist who is part of the NBWL.
“The Standing Committee has been relegated to a clearing house for issues like de-notifications. The tiger crisis needs to be looked into, but there has been absolutely no response from the Ministry of Environment and Forests,” Wright said.
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