Madhya Pradesh government has informed the state high court that efforts were on to form the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) which might take shape in a month.
On behalf of the state government, advocate Swapnil Ganguly on Thursday told the high court in an affidavit that proposal for the formation of the STPF and seeking sanction for 336 posts for it had already been sent to the General Administration Department (GAD) and Finance Department on October 31.
He submitted that after their approval, the proposal will be sent to Madhya Pradesh cabinet for clearance.
Ganguly also told the division bench of high court, comprising Chief Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar and Justice CV Sirpurkar, that the STPF might be formed in a month.
The state made this submission on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) moved by activist Ajay Dubey, secretary of Prayatna, an NGO, stating that the formation of the STPF was the need of the hour considering the threat tigers are facing.
"In the petition, we have drawn the high court's attention to the arrest of a poaching gang in Maharashtra some months ago that had admitted to killing of tigers in Madhya Pradesh," Siddharth Gupta, counsel for the petitioner said.
Gupta told the court that in 2008, the Centre had announced 100% financial help to the states for the formation of the STPF that has not yet been formed in MP.
The government's assurance to the high court came at a time when the state has slid to the third position in tiger count in the country, according to the latest report of the census. Madhya Pradesh was once tagged as a 'tiger state' for housing maximum number of big cats.