Special force for protection of tigers mooted
New Delhi (PTI): With the tiger population facing grave threats from poachers, a move is afoot to create a dedicated Special Task Protection Force (STPF) on the lines of Indian Reserve Battalions (IRB) to protect the highly endangered royal big cats in the country.
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has moved a proposal to the Environment Ministry seeking its approval for deploying a fully armed force in the 15 tiger reserves in the country which is left with only around 1,400 big cats.
The move is a follow-up of the policy initiated by Finance Minister P Chidambaram who in his budget speech early this year allocated Rs 50 crore as grant for developing such a special force for the threatened species.
As per the proposal, the STPF would comprise of 1,680 personnel distributed in 15 companies each with a total strength of 120 personnel and to be headed by an assistant commandant of the rank of assistant superintendent of police and three sub-inspectors.
Each company would comprise three platoons which in turn would have a sub-inspector of police assisted by six head constables and 30 constables, the proposal said.
To ensure that the force is not diverted for any other purpose other than the protection of the tigers, the NTCA proposes to sign an agreement with the states restraining them from taking a casual approach towards the STPF.
"The force not being an 'Armed forces of the union,' the NTCA stipulates that it would be used exclusively for tiger protection and under no circumstances would be required in aid of civil authority, for any other district work."