Rs 104 crore grant for Ranthambore
TNN 2 October 2009, 04:17am IST
JAIPUR: In a big boost to tiger conservation in the state, the forest department on Wednesday received a grant of Rs 104 crore from the Centre. The grant was sanctioned for relocation of villages from the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve.
This is for the first time that any reserve in the country has got such a large sum for relocation. Calling it a major success for tiger conservation in the state, minister for forest and environment Ram Lal Jat said, "This grant is mainly due to our signing the tripartite agreement with the Centre. We were the first state to sign the agreement during a field directors' meeting in Sariksa some months ago.''
The agreement, apart from making the making the state, the Centre and the director of the reserve accountable for tigers in the reserve also makes the state accountable for adequate utilisation of funds released by the Centre. Forest department officials said the state is expected to get more such grants for its other reserve at Sariska.
Source say, the state sought Rs 130 crore from the Centre but was sanctioned Rs 104 crore. The money would be used to compensate those villagers in Ranthambore who voluntarily give up their land inside the forest and choose to settle outside. Each family would be paid Rs 10 lakh besides being given a piece of land.
Though the total area of the reserve is about 1,394.478 sq km, only 44 resident tigers are confined to an area less than 400 sq km of the core area. And rapid multiplication of tigers in the reserve is now posing a problem for forest officials. Often the Big Cats die due to territorial fights. Last year a young mother died in such a fight and forestors had to put in extra effort to save its cubs from the invading tiger.
Forestors revealed that despite having removed a substantial number of villages from the reserve there are still a number of small villages in the periphery.
"Last year we managed to evacuate villages from 60 sqkm. Most of the villagers were shifted to places within Sawai Madhopur. With these relocations the core area of Ranthambore was made free from habitation. But now we need to concentrate on relocation of villages on the periphery of the forest like Moredungri, Bhir and Khatuli. While one of these villages Moredungri is on the periphery of the park, the other two lie along the Kailadevi corridor, adjacent to the park," added the official.
The central grant will help relocate these villages. According to Chief Wild Life Warden of Rajasthan, RN Mehrotra, "These relocations are a win-win situation for all concerned. In lieu of their land the villagers are not only given another plot outside but also cash. The tigers too have extra room for themselves."