Scanty funds endanger tiger future
4 Mar 2008, 0259 hrs IST,Vijay Pinjarkar,TNN
NAGPUR: Poaching and protection are the two ends to which the tigers are tied with, and both coincide with each other. How? Poaching is rampant because protection is poor. Why? In state, statistics show that it’s because of meager allocation of funds, both from the Centre and state governments.
According to the statistics, for allocation of funds available with the TOI, the three tigers reserves and 33 wildlife sanctuaries in the state received only Rs 11.50 crore under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) in 2007-08. This included Rs 5.43 crore for Melghat, Tadoba-Andhari and Pench tiger reserves and Rs 6.07 crore for 33 sanctuaries. The amount includes contribution from state and Centre.
Funds under CSS are released by both the governments on a 50:50 basis for meeting recurrent and non-recurrent expenses in protected areas (PAs). Recurrent expenses are spent on protection, maintenance of fixed assets, wages, while non-recurrent cost includes money spent on capital investment.
However, record shows that as state is poor on spending funds on tiger protection so is Centre doesn’t release adequate funds.
According to sources, the principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) had demanded Rs 8.46 crore for three state tiger reserves. However, it got only 5.43 crore. Of this, the state released Rs 3.44 crore, while Centre allocated Rs 1.99 crore.
Now take the plight of 33 sanctuaries. There was a demand of Rs 5.96 crore with the Centre. However, the centre sanctioned only Rs 3.97 crore, because the state sanctioned an equal amount. However, actually, state released only Rs 2.95 crore and Centre Rs 3.12 crore. This comes to Rs 6.07 crore for 33 sanctuaries. If you look at the compensation under cattle kill, it alone comes to Rs 5.60 crore in the state.
Interestingly, there are over 140 tigers besides huge wildlife in 41 wildlife sanctuaries, including six tiger reserves and national parks in the state. Of the total funds demanded by the wildlife department, it gets only 50 per cent, that too after a huge delay.
Wildlife conservationists say how tigers will survive with such poor funds. They have questioned the state’s commitment in protecting tigers. More amounts have been sanctioned to meet non-recurrent expenses and less on recurrent expenses, which are rather more important as far as conservation of wildlife, is concerned.
“Although the funds are sanctioned for financial year April 1, 2007-March 31, 2008, facts reveal that the money has been released by the state government only after September. Most of the time, funds are released even in March and the officials concerned hardly get time to complete the pending works. The delay on part of the state to release funds is proving a deterrent for wildlife,” alleged conservationists.
The wildlife conservationists claim can be substantiated from the fact that barring three sanctuaries ? Dnyanganga, Katepurna (Akola Wildlife Division) and Yedshi R Ghat (Aurangabad Division), which have utilised 100 per cent funds ? all the other 30 sanctuaries and three tiger reserves could spend up to 60 per cent. Pench tiger reserve could only spend 37 per cent of the sanctioned amount.
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