Saturday, December 23, 2006

Project Tiger: Indian report raps state government

Special Correspondent

'Tiger habitat in Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary shrinking'

HYDERABAD: The State Government was rapped by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India for assigning "very low priority" to `Project Tiger,' a Centrally-sponsored scheme, to ensure a viable tiger population for scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural and ecological values.

According to the CAG report for the year-ended March 31, 2006, placed in the Assembly on Thursday, the performance audit review "showed that the tiger habitat in the Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary (RGWS) is shrinking and that there is real danger that the number of tigers in it is dwindling".

It said the consolidation of the reserve was delayed for nearly 20 years leading to continuous encroachment. "No action has been taken for checking encroachment or for the translocation of people from the sanctuary. There is a large and growing increase in the human/cattle population causing enormous biotic pressure on RWGS."

Poor allocation

It said the management plans were not comprehensive and the allocation and expenditure on `Project Tiger' was only a meagre 3 per cent of the total expenditure on all the schemes in RGWS.

The report also faulted the tiger census conducted every year as "unscientific, unsystematic and therefore unreliable for verifying the actual population of tigers."

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