23 Feb 2008, 0217 hrs IST,TNN
NEW DELHI: In an effort to ensure improved tiger conservation, the
Centre is planning to make states where sanctuaries and parks are
located active partners in protecting the big cat by framing
memorandums of understanding (MoUs) that will tie-in increased
assistance to better management of the reserves.
A review of tiger conservation chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh on Friday considered options to stem the decline in tiger
population in the wake of the latest census released last week.
It was felt that the cooperation of the states was essential for any
conservation effort to succeed. The 30-odd tigers reserves are
managed by forest services of 17 states.
While a press release said that the PM expressed concern at the
decline in tiger numbers, it also pointed out that Singh felt
comparisons with older census figures would be out of place given
that a revised methodology was used in the most recent count.
It was also felt that tiger numbers had declined most in areas
adjoining reserves which were not specifically protected.
In order to get the states on board, it was decided that MoUs
detailing their responsibilities as well as a scheme of incentives
would be drawn up soon. These would be then signed with states with
increased funds being linked to specific measures like requisite
staff, communication and monitoring equipment and patrol vehicles.
This would bring about a sharing of best practices in tiger
conservation. A meeting of CMs of states where tiger reserves are
located will be called and the CMs will be requested to take charge
of conservation and forest management.
The meeting will seek to frame a coordinated response to the
challenge of tiger conservation. While the core areas of tiger
reserves are to be kept inviolate – without people – the buffer areas
are to be managed as safe cohabitation space for people and the wild
An amendment had been made to the Wildlife Protection Act in December
2006 to pursue this but several states are yet to start the process
of such a demarcation.
While MoUs are part of measures that PMO has considered earlier, the
proposal will now be fast-tracked. Similarly, a proposal to allow
tiger reserves to use funds that are generated by tourism-related
activities may be considered. If tiger “foundations” were set up at
reserves they would be able to directly handle recruitment and
purchase of equipment.
The reserves would also be insulated against inefficiencies of
procurement through regular state government apparatus.
The recently announced hikes for the National Tiger Conservation
Programme had also increased to Rs 10 lakh the compensation amount
for relocating families in protected areas. It was hoped that this
would make it easier to persuade population clusters to move out.
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