Workers in UP's Dudhwa Tiger Reserve wait for their dues
Updated on Wednesday, November 04, 2009, 19:50 IST
New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh government has allegedly not paid daily wages for the past seven months to over 250 workers in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve despite the Centre releasing money for running of the park.
Though the Centre released Rs 3.16 crore to the state government in September for maintenance of the reserve soon after it signed an agreement on tiger conservation, the workers are yet to get their dues, official sources said.
Wildlife experts fear that the apathy of the state government towards the tiger park can induce the workers to help poachers in lieu of money.
"It is shocking that at a time when all efforts are being made to save each and every tiger in the country, Uttar Pradesh government has not paid daily wage earners their dues. This will have negative consequences," wildlife expert Belinda Wright said.
She recalled that how in the absence of monetary support by the state, daily wagers turned poachers in reserves like Valmiki and Corbett sanctuaries in Bihar and Uttarakhand respectively in the past.
Day-to-day work in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, spread over 1400 square kms and housing around 100 tigers, has almost come to a standstill.
Sources said the daily wagers are paid Rs 100 per day and their total salary bill for the past seven months stands at between Rs 60-70 lakhs.