Ramesh expresses concern over tiger population
Announces setting of Social Tiger Protection Force
16 out of the 37 sanctuaries in “danger zone”
Eco-system must be protected with the involvement of locals
NEW DELHI: The depleting population of tigers in the country is “alarming” and the “rampant killing of tigers” is a cause of concern, Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh said in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. Sixteen of the 37 tiger sanctuaries were in the “danger zone” where tigers had either vanished or were on the brink of vanishing.
Replying to the calling attention motion moved by Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Mr. Ramesh said rampant killing of tigers had virtually led to extinction of the big cats in Sariska and Panna, due to poaching.
Mr. Ramesh announced the setting up of a “Social Tiger Protection Force” comprising the local communities and van gujjars, to protect the tiger population from further damage. He was strongly against forming a force comprising police personnel. It was important that the eco-system was protected at any cost with the involvement of locals. Mr. Ramesh said 12 sanctuaries were in good condition with good tiger density. The condition in nine was satisfactory, but more needed to be done.
The Ministry had chalked out a massive relocation of nearly one lakh families living in or around the 37 sanctuaries. To make the relocation package attractive, the compensation was enhanced from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh a family. “A successful relocation experiment was carried out in the Bhadra tiger reserve in Karnataka and the second one will be carried out in the Corbett National Park.”
Fast track courts
The Minister said the Ministry was ready to examine the suggestion of setting up fast track courts to try poaching cases.
Mr. Ramesh asked the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments to take stern action against poachers. “Poachers have been held in Panna but no action was taken against them. I request Madhya Pradesh to prosecute them so that Panna can be a test case for other reserves where tiger population is diminishing,” he said.