Sunday, August 05, 2007

Take steps for tiger conservation, says India's prime minister

Aarti Dhar

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked the States to take steps for strengthening institutional arrangements in tiger reserves and prioritise recruitment of frontline staff of the Forest Department especially in wildlife sanctuaries.

Dr. Singh, in a letter to State Chief Ministers, after a review of the implementation of the Tiger Task Force Report, has said that a large number of frontline posts in the Department of Forests was lying vacant in several States. This may have happened on account of recruitment bans imposed at a time when State finances were under stress, he said. He urged the states to fill in the vacancies at the earliest.

The Prime Minister also urged the Chief Ministers to create a "development agency" in each tiger reserve for guidance in increasing local participation in tiger reserve management. These agencies would be under the Field Directors involving local panchayats and wildlife experts. Enabling provisions for constituting such an institutional mechanism have been provided in the Wildlife Protection Amendment Act, 2006 and related guidelines issued by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, he said.

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