Sunday, July 17, 2011

'Propose Mhadei wildlife sanctuary as tiger reserve'

TNN Jul 17, 2011, 12.40am IST

PANAJI: The state government should heed the central government's advice and propose that the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary be declared a tiger reserve after a proper study, the Pilerne citizens' forum (PCF) said on Saturday.

The demand has been made in a representation to governor S S Sidhu, chief minister Digambar Kamat and Union minister of state for forests and environment Jayanti Natarajan.

The representation has been signed by PCF secretary Aaron Paul Fernandes.

The PCF also slammed health minister Vishwajit Rane for his comments to a local television channel allegedly objecting to the proposed declaration of Mhadei wildlife sanctuary as a tiger reserve.

The PCF explained that the central government has advised Goa to propose the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary as a tiger reserve because of evidence of the presence of tigers there not merely as transit animals but as residents. The centre has urged Goa to seriously consider the proposal as Mhadei, situated in Sattari taluka, is a 'contiguous tiger landscape' to Bhimgad wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka to its southeast and to Anshi Dandeli tiger reserve to its south which has around 35 tigers.

PCF spokesperson Yatish Naik told the media that the forum and the people of Goa were shocked that even before the proposal of the Union ministry of forests and environment and even before the proposal was made public, a cabinet minister had opposed the proposal.

The representation read, "Declaration of Mhadei sanctuary as a tiger reserve should undoubtedly be made only after studying all aspects related thereto and most importantly considering the fast dwindling numbers of our national animal."

The PCF said "it is a matter of great concern" that the health minister has "shot down the proposal even before his own government has studied the same".

The PCF has called upon the chief minister to instruct his ministers not to indulge in making "non-meritorious and detrimental statements in a premature fashion without studying the concerned subject".

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