Change in Tiger Protection Force mooted
TNN 26 July 2009, 06:49am IST
SARISKA: The special â€˜Tiger Protection Force', mooted by the Centre as one of the components for the conservation of tigers in the country, will now be revamped and be renamed as â€˜Social Protection Force'.
Union minister of state for forest and environment Jairam Ramesh on Saturday sought the intervention of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in revamping the whole scheme. "We would like to see the involvement of localities more in these forces instead of the mere recruitment of personnel as a policing force," said Ramesh.
According to the minister, what was being contemplated just for the Corbett Park may now replace the scheme in totality. The Centre had recently announced the setting up of this force for the 13 sensitive tiger reserves of the country.
"The involvement of localities would help in more intelligence gathering. Therefore, the recruitment of local people in the force seems to make more sense than recruiting total outsiders," he said.
Each Tiger Protection Force will consist of 112 personnel, all of whom will be paid by the Centre. The move of the ministry comes as the first step in involving the local community more for tiger conservation.
The minister, who was addressing the inaugural session of the third field directors conference here, also revealed that Rajasthan would be hosting the World Tiger Summit at Ranthambore next year.
"About 200 persons from across the world are to participate in the summit. We will also be an active participant but we do not intend to take any grants or loans from them. We will, however, remain in touch with the technical experts of other countries and will send our field directors to these countries in case they need our expertise," he said .
The minister reiterated his stand on a severe penalty for the tiger poachers. "I will have the Wildlife Protection Act amended so as to bring in a severe punishment for the poaching of tigers. We must learn lessons from Gujarat. The way they have controlled poaching is a lesson to be learnt," he said, adding that the amendment will be brought in the next session of Parliament.
The minister harped on the involvement of NGOs and research scientists for future tiger estimations in the country and suggested a three-tier system to carry on the estimation work. "We will take up this new methodology and release the estimate of tigers in the country during the World Tiger Summit next year in Rajasthan," he added.
Talking on new tiger reserves, Ramesh said that his ministry has written to the chief minister of Gujarat about two days back expressing willingness to establish a new tiger reserve there.
Trashing reports of radio collars being misused by the poachers in Pannah sanctuary, the minister clarified that there are no proposals by the ministry to stop the use of radio collars. "There will be no curb on using radio collars. It will go on in an effective way under a protocol," he said.