Tiger protection: Centre threatens to block state funds

Tiger protection: Centre threatens to block state funds

22 Mar 2008, 0611 hrs IST,Nitin Sethi,TNN

NEW DELHI: Unable to convince the states to take adequate measures for tiger protection, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has set up hard deadlines for tiger-bearing states and threatened to cut off funds if they don’t deliver.

Tiger reserve authorities in the 18 tiger-bearing states have been asked to provide a plan to relocate the remaining villages in the tiger reserves by May 15. They have also been asked to send in draft tiger-conservation plans, which are now mandatory under the amended Wildlife Protection Act. The plans are meant to lay out the entire gamut of management activities necessary for protection of the big cat.

Besides this, the Centre has warned that unless states sign a memorandum of understanding with the environment ministry, the funds to tiger reserves would be choked. The MoU is to ensure that the enhanced funds provided under the centrally-sponsored scheme are not held up in the state financial system but routed promptly to the protection authority. It sets strict rules for spending the money the NTCA provides for tiger parks and sanctuaries.

The authority also informed field directors of each tiger reserve at a two-day meeting held recently in Madhya Pradesh that another MoU would be put in place to tighten operational imperatives for tiger reserves to avail resources from the Centre. “The MoU will be the enabling instrument for a strong relation between states and Centre to work together on tiger conservation, laying down the framework for time-bound action,” said Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of the NTCA.

This MoU will include a condition that state governments will create a panel of motivated wildlife officials from which the field directors ? operational heads of the tiger reserves ? are selected.

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