Bihar likely to have tiger protection force soon
Sanjeev Kumar Verma, TNN 21 November 2009, 04:04am IST
PATNA: Bihar is likely to have a force dedicated to protect its tigers very soon. Christened `Tiger Protection Force' (TPF), the said force would be specially trained to take on the poachers who indulge in trapping the big cats, whose number has registered a marked decline in the past few years across the tiger reserves of India.
The Valmiki Tiger Reserve, Bihar's only such reserve, has not been an exception to this trend, and the latest tiger census estimated the number of big cats in this reserve to be around 10 (3). This number stood at 33 in the previous tiger census conducted in 2005.
"We have sent a proposal to the Centre demanding Rs 2.22 crore for the Valmiki Tiger Reserve of which about Rs 20 lakh would be spent on raising the TPF," Bihar chief wildlife warden (CWW) Bashir Ahmed Khan told TOI.
TPF would consist of 20 personnel of which 10 would be either ex-armymen or those from the special task force and remaining 10 would be locals. This would be more like a strike force which would help the existing forest personnel, manning the reserve, in hours of need.
"The process of raising the TPF would get underway once the Central fund is released," the CWW said, adding, "This year demand has been pegged at Rs 20 lakh only as proposal to the Centre was sent midway the current fiscal year, but from next fiscal onwards the demand under this head would be almost double the current demand."
Bihar could not press for Central demand in the beginning of the current fiscal as it had not signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which is now a statutory requirement for being eligible to receive the Central funds.
According to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (as amended in 2006), the states having tiger reserves have to sign a tripartite MoU with NTCA with director of tiger reserve being the third party, to get Central assistance. As Bihar has inked the MoU, the state's only tiger reserve has become eligible for the Central assistance.
Khan said apart from raising the TPF, the Central fund would also be used for habitat development and to meet other recurring cost incurred on proper upkeep of the reserve.
"Things would depend on volume of fund the Centre releases and also under what heads funds are released by it," he added.