Rs. 37 cr. sought for Anaimalai Tiger Reserve
Pollachi: The office of the Field Director, Anaimalai Tiger Reserve (ATR), has begun preliminary measures for turning the 958-sq. km forest area into a tiger reserve.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has issued a fresh set of guidelines for implementation of the tiger reserve project. The forest area was the erstwhile Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park which was also declared a Project Elephant. NTCA and the Government of India had recently declared Anaimalai as a tiger reserve along with Mudumalai, thus taking the total number of tiger reserves in the State to three with Kalakkad–Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve being the first.
ATR Field Director H. Basuvaraju told The Hindu that a proposal had been sent to the Government seeking Rs. 37 crore of which Rs. 34 crore would be set aside for relocation and rehabilitation of the tribal population. The remaining Rs. 3 crore would be for other development works and modernisation. According to the 2006 wildlife census, Anaimalai has 20 tigers and tigresses. It was a healthy number for conservation and to ensure breeding of tigers, Mr. Basuvaraju said.
The forest managers would also take steps to protect the herbivore population so that it could serve as a prey base for the carnivores such as tigers. Initially, efforts were being made to relocate 1,688 families, i.e., 7,000 tribals living in 34 tribal settlements within the core area of the sanctuary, to eliminate human interference in tiger protection measures.
“Tribals will be sensitised to the need to shift out of the core forest areas on their own,” he said. However, there would be no compulsion or coercion. Two packages were being offered to the tribals - they would be either given Rs. 10 lakh for settling down outside the jungle or the Forest Department would provide land and other infrastructure.