Centre formulates plan to save tigers

Centre formulates plan to save tigers

Sandeep Bhushan
Thursday, March 20, 2008 (New Delhi)

National parks and sanctuaries will be in trouble if they don’t implement the Centre’s tiger conservation efforts. Officials say that funding will be stopped. This warning from the Centre for the States follows a meeting of all field officials in Kanha.

Now the proposal is under active consideration of the Prime Minister Office.

The number of tigers at Panna is down to single digit in Madhya Pradesh. There could be more bad news for the national park, if a fresh arrangement between the Centre and states gets through.

”If state government’s do not follow the letter spirit of this MoU all funding will be stopped,” said Dr Rajesh Gopal, member-secretary, National Tiger Conservation Authority.

This could happen if parks and sanctuaries don’t fill up vacancies and put an intelligence system in place.

The MoU also proposes a specific tiger conservation regime for Naxalite-affected areas coordination between forest and paramilitary forces.

Parks will have more autonomy. They will use the money they earn and will not get it from the state government.

In the last few years, a spate of legislative changes have been made by the central government, a token 50 crores have been sanctioned in this year’s annual budget. But senior officials say that state government has not backed tiger conservation efforts.

The states are yet to respond to an earlier MoU proposed by the Centre. Only four states have set up steering committees headed by chief ministers, under the Wildlife Protection Act.

The same act also says each state must have a Tiger Conservation Foundation and a conservation plan, less than four states have done this.

The prime minister has sent two reminders to the states. The forest officials say that only one state has responded. Perhaps this is an indication to show how committed the tiger conservation efforts are.



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