Wildlife Act to be amended: Jairam

Wildlife Act to be amended: Jairam

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Forest preservation, curbing poachers and relocation of forest-dwellers were the three major challenges before the government, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said here on Tuesday.

“To save the pristine land being diverted for developmental projects, we are ensuring that the Forest Conservation Act remain[s] sacrosanct,” he said at a function to launch the Bengal Tiger Conservation Programme. The Minister said amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act were on the anvil to deter poachers further and for anti-wildlife smuggling activities.

“We are in talks with the concerned stakeholders to bring comprehensive changes in the Act and also in the process to strengthen Wildlife Crime Control Bureau to develop intelligence,” he said. Long judicial procedures and paltry sums as penalty do not help curb this problem.

With the help of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General of India and other judiciary members, efforts would be made to introduce heavy fines and sections like attaching property.

Mr. Ramesh said the States had got over Rs. 11,000 crore for protection and restoration of natural forest cover under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) Fund. The fund offers a unique and historic opportunity to invest in forests exclusively since the word ‘plantation’ did not figure in the guidelines.

In the next six years, 6 million hectares of land will be brought under green cover, providing one of the largest carbon sinks in the world.

On the relocation of close to 80,000 families living inside the core areas of protected forests, he said they had been offered Rs.10 lakh or a piece of land as a compensation package to move out of the reserves.



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