Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Field director to be punished for tiger loss

Field director to be punished for tiger loss

Neha Shukla, TNN 22 July 2009, 06:18am IST

LUCKNOW: The security of tigers all over the country has been upgraded with new provisions rolled out by ministry of environment and forest (MoEF). The unfortunate experiences of Sariska and Panna tiger reserves have made National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) fix the responsibility of tiger-loss on the official heading the management of tiger reserve.

In the sense that loss of even a single tiger or its habitat will call upon a penal action against the field director of the said reserve through the state government. The instructions packaged as tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NTCA, state governments and field directors of reserves have reached Dudhwa officials as well.

When contacted Shailesh Prasad, director, Dudhwa chose not to comment on the feasibility of the broadly laid out framework. "It is a government order and we will obey," he said. But, under requirement to submit the proposal for funding, tiger conservation at Dudhwa has got its twin objectives defined -- habitat management and protection to big cats.

The authorities shared that the `annual plan of operation' (APO) to go to the ministry has been planned around making tiger habitat livable for the big cats and also according to them protection against poaching and human reprisals or revenge killings. "Controlling man-animal conflict will be a major focus," added the director.

The state has submitted the proposal for funding to NTCA which has acted strict even in release of funds. The authority will release second instalment only after progress report for the previous instalment has been submitted by the field director. The authority has clearly laid out that state must have successfully utilised at least 60% of the funds released under first instalment to be eligible for the second one.

The plan empowers the field director to spend money made available, for immediate execution of schemes as per norms. But the plan does not allow diversion of funds without prior approval of NTCA. Besides, it is a broad-based one that asks consulting gram sabha and zila parishad in case of doling out compensation funds to humans (in case of cattle lifting, crop depredation, injury and death of men) and putting local work force on job of intelligence gathering.

But the officials in UP are ready to go with it. "We will go ahead with it and if there comes a problem in managing it we will intimate central government about it," said Prasad.

The field directors will have to follow day to day monitoring protocols for tigers and other wild animals to ensure forecasting of untoward happenings in the habitat. Non-adherence to MOU will invite stoppage of funds to the reserve and incentives provided to officials and staff of the reserve.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4804825.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

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