As the Madhya Pradesh government is organising wildlife week celebrations, the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the state are suffering because over 500 posts are lying vacant.
Ajay Dubey, wildlife activist and secretary of MP-based Environmental Action Group Prayatna, who had sought details of the vacant posts in the state forest and wildlife department, told HT that there were 500 important posts lying vacant in MP’s ten national parks that include six tiger reserves and 23 wildlife sanctuaries.
He said the state government was in the process of getting elephants from Karnataka, which would be used in the tiger reserves. "But of 12 posts for mahouts (elephant trainers), only one has been filled. And how are they going to manage elephants is not clear," he claimed.
Dubey alleged that even the important posts in the tiger strike force, especially in Bhopal area, have not been filled. Dubey also alleged that instead of taking concrete steps, the state government was just forming committees, which it had done in the past too, without any significant results.
"Lakhs of rupees are being spent for so-called wildlife awareness and foreign trips of ministers. Why the government is not diverting the same money to filling these posts so that on ground we have people who can protect the state wildlife," he said.
Dubey further said main points raised in the recent National Tiger Conservation Authority ( NTCA ) report on tiger deaths in Bandhavgarh like deploying special tiger protection force, creating a separate post of deputy director buffer, were not being taken seriously by the state government, which was just passing buck to the subordinate offices.
Dubey stressed that despite the then finance minister P Chidambaram making it clear in 2008 that the Centre would provide 100 % financial support to states for deploying Special Tiger Protection Force, MP had not done it yet, while states like Maharashtra and Karnataka had already done it.