India’s depleting tiger population sees a ray of hope.
The Union government has decided to ensure sufficient money for protection of tigers across the country.
The Central government will sign a tripartite agreement with state governments and tiger reserves to ensure that funds allocated are used for tiger protection.
This was decided by Union Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh after a meeting with officials of the National Tiger Conservation Authority — a body constituted to save the tigers — on Thursday.
The Central government had allocated Rs 610 crore for tiger protection and relocation of villages inside the core area of 28 tiger reserves in the 11th five-year plan, a four-fold increase from the 10th five-year plan. But many state governments have not utilised the money properly.
“We will ensure money meant for tigers is used in right earnest,” said Ramesh, who will be visiting four tiger reserves in the next one week to assess the ground reality.
Ramesh said the state governments and managements of tiger reserves will have to commit on how they plan to utilise the money given to them and the timeframe within which it would be spent.
Under the Rs 610-crore tiger conservation fund, about one lakh families living inside tiger reserves are to be relocated. “It is a gigantic task,” said Ramesh.
India’s tiger population has fallen to 1,411 in 2007 from over 40,000 a century ago.
Ramesh, who took over a week ago, also said states signing the tripartite agreement would get incentives to protect wildlife and for sustainable development of the forests.