Centre-state-tiger reserve pact to ensure better conservation
Sunday, June 7, 2009
New Delhi (PTI): For enhanced protection of big cats and to ensure adequate utilisation of funds for the process, the Centre will soon sign a tripartite pact with state governments concerned and tiger reserves.
Currently, funds are being disbursed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) under a memorandum of understanding with the states concerned for protecting the Project Tiger areas under them.
However, Union Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh said tiger reserves will also be made accountable for the fund utilisation process given that many states had failed to fully spend money provided by the Centre.
The decision came following a recent meeting of the Minister with officials of the NTCA which is overseeing Project Tiger in the country.
"We will ensure money meant for tigers is used in right earnest. The efforts should bear results," Mr. Ramesh told PTI.
The Minister felt that unless reserves were involved in the fund process, various efforts being undertaken by the government to save the tigers will remain futile.
"State governments and managements of tiger reserves will have to commit on how they plan to utilise the money given to them and the time-frame within which it would be spent," Mr. Ramesh said indicating that tiger conservation was a collective responsibility, although forests were a state subject.
Through various programme, the Central Government is providing financial assistance to over 40 tiger reserves in the country.
According to an official estimate, there are only around 1,500 tigers left in the wild in the country.
At least Rs 610 crore has been allocated for tiger protection and relocation of villages inside the core area of 28 tiger reserves in the 11th five-year plan, with each family entitled to get Rs 10 lakh.
Also, nearly Rs 50 crore has been kept separately for constitution of Special Task Protection Force (STPF) in each reserves to check anti-poaching activities.