Two days after Hindustan Times reported that surplus tigers dispersing out of the Ranthambore National Park might become easy targets for poachers, Union minister of environment, forest and climate change Prakash Javadekar said his ministry will work out a scheme to incentivise industry for reforesting tiger corridors under the “compensatory afforestation scheme”.
Corridors are crucial links between the protected forests — national parks and wildlife sanctuaries — that tigers use to shift habitats. Compensatory afforestation is carried out by project developers on non-forest land or degraded forest land in lieu of the land diverted for their project.
“We will create a scheme of incentivising (industry) for offering compensatory afforestation in tiger and wildlife corridors. If alternative land for afforestation is offered in corridor areas, they will be given some incentive. That way they will offer more land in corridor area…,” Javadekar told HT.
He also said the National Tiger Conservation Authority is contemplating arming the forest guards to deal with tiger poachers. “This is a challenge... Every time you come up with a new technology, new tool, new method, they come out with yet another method. Last year, our front staff fired and killed 20 poachers in rhino areas. Such stringent actions will be taken in tiger poaching cases also. However, it’s in planning stage,” he said.
When pointed out that his ministry has been clearing development projects in crucial tiger corridors, Javadekar said, “Our decision was validated by the SC. The court said tigers are important but development is also important.”
While the tiger numbers increased in India from 1,706 in 2010 to 2,226 last year, the tiger habitat has shrunk by 25% in the past decade.
HT reported on Sunday that at least 12 tigers have gone missing in five years from the Ranthambore National Park. Experts pointed out the tigers dispersing out of the park became easy targets to the poachers due to degraded corridors.