With an eye on wildlife tourism, the Maharashtra government is all set to embark on a new mission to conserve the tiger. The mission, launched on Tuesday, is a multi-pronged effort by the government, targeting the protection of the tiger as well the six tiger reserves in the state.
The state has now approached former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and actor Amitabh Bachchan to be the brand ambassador for this mission. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis flagged off the mission on Tuesday morning at the Mantralaya.
While the Tadoba-Andhari tiger project already has a tiger conservation initiative, the state government will now be creating detailed project reports for the other tiger reserves in the State as well.
“The mission will be multi-pronged but two aspects will be emphasised on - the participation of local communities staying in and around the tiger reserves and the protection of the tiger reserves,” said forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.
Through the recently-launched Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Jan Van Vikas scheme, the government is also planning to resettle at least 150 villages in the first phase, outside these areas and looking at reducing the man-animal conflict. “We are also planning to offer infrastructure such as irrigation facilities, educational facilities along with offering them alternate livelihoods, so that they don’t have to depend on the forests,” Mungantiwar said.
The issue, however, may be contentious as it will involve uprooting the livelihoods of the communities in these villages. In addition, the government is now looking at better surveillance of the reserves to ensure no poaching as well as to prevent encroachment.