Assam yet to constitute body to manage tiger funds
Sunday, December 14, 2008 : 1100 Hrs
New Delhi (IANS): A crucial body to manage funds for tiger conservation is yet to be set up in Assam, home to three tiger reserves, including Kaziranga. And that means a delay in setting up anti-poaching camps, purchase of guns for forest guards and other important activity.
The Tiger Foundation was to be set up by Assam after it signed an agreement with the central government last year. But there is no sign of it yet.
"They have to constitute a Tiger Foundation and it will only be to their advantage. It was a commitment from them to constitute it as per the agreement. But this they have not done yet," Rajesh Gopal, head of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), told IANS.
Manas, Kaziranga and Nameri are the important tiger reserves in Assam, and their protection is critical for the survival of the big cats in the country in the decades to come.
A senior official of the Assam forest department admitted on condition of anonymity that the setting up of the Tiger Foundation had been needlessly delayed.
As a result, important works that are vital for protecting the big cats are being held up.
"Currently, there are 139 anti-poaching camps in Kaziranga and at least five of them need immediate repairs. Besides, we also planned to purchase 20 rifles for forest guards, uniforms, and construct fair weather paths and power fences, and the money is urgently needed", the official said.