Bihar govt asked to appoint conservator for tiger reserve
July 10, 2009
New Delhi (PTI): Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has asked the Bihar government to appoint a full-time conservator in the Valmiki Tiger Reserve in the state at the earliest to ensure better management in the park where tiger-count has declined in the recent years.
Expressing his concern over the fate of tigers, whose number has declined from 30 to 13, and other wildlife in the park spread over 880.78 sq km, Ramesh, in a letter to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, urged him to expedite the process of signing tripartite pact with the Centre so as to avail central assisted fund.
The minister has sought reasons as to why no full-time conservator has been appointed in the park even when there is no dearth of officials, a senior official in the environment ministry said.
The top post in the reserve in Betia in Champaran district had been lying vacant for the last nine months and currently conservator Ashok Prasad has been entrusted with multiple charge of Muzaffarpur, Betia and Siwan forests, he added.
The state of affairs of field staff is equally precarious in the reserve with at least 40 per cent of the total posts lying vacant.
Due to vacancy at the top level, poachers get sufficient security gaps to target the endangered predators.
Except miscellaneous funds to meet the salary of the staff, there is no separate fund allocated by the state for the management and development of the park.