Madhya Pradesh opposes mooted MOU on tiger conservation
Published: Sun, 20 Sep 2009 at 18:52
Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh government is opposed to the proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) on tiger consrvation, especially to the mooted clause that makes directors of tiger reserves accountable for any lapses, a state official has said.
The state government has also denied media reports that it has signed the proposed tripartite MOU with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the field directors of Project Tiger reserves.
"The MoU is not acceptable to us in its present form, and discussions with the union government for amendments in it are under way," said the official, requesting anonimity.
The issue of signing the tripartite MoU came up for discussion with the central Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh during his Bhopal visit Sept 12.
Official sources said the state government does not want field directors of tiger reserves to become signatories in the MoU as it feels that NTCA should not deal with them directly, bypassing the state government. It wants to continue with the old system under which the state's chief wildlife warden is a signatory to the document with the NTCA's secretary general on behalf of the state government.
Another contentious issue in the tripartite MoU is the clause that moots to hold field directors of reserves liable to penal action if the tiger numbers decline.
According to the sources, the state government is now considering two options: Either, it could sign the tripartite MoU with dissenting notes on each point it has reservations with, or it could sign an agreement with the NTCA and an independent agreement with the field directors.
Meanwhile, the central government has not released any funds for management of tiger reserves on the grounds that the state government has not signed the tripartite MOU.
According to the central government, this agreement is a move to boost tiger conservation as it make three parties - the central government's environment ministry, the state government and those in charge of tiger reserves - accountable for their actions in protection of the big cats which are on the verge of extinction due to various reasons.
Prashant Mehta, the state's additional chief secretary (forests), is expected to meet Ramesh soon to discuss the issue.