Maharashtra will soon be India’s tiger tourism hot spot. Nagpur will be declared as India’s ‘tiger gateway’ and the state will get three new tiger reserves at Navegaon, Nagzira and Bor respectively.
Of the 169 tigers in the state, 148 are in the three reserves and several sanctuaries near Nagpur. Maharashtra has four tiger reserves and 34 sanctuaries.
“Maharashtra has done well in the tiger census; there is an increase in their numbers. Also, 13 of India’s 39 tiger projects are near Nagpur. So, we decided to declare Nagpur as India’s tiger gateway,” Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Friday.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority, which is decentralising its operations, has also decided to have one of its three field offices in Nagpur.
The recent census showed that Maharashtra’s tiger population has risen from 103 in the last census to 169.
“The new reserves will boost tiger tourism,” Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said. He said the Centre was going to declare a new eco-tourism policy, which would benefit the state.
Another issue discussed in a meeting between Ramesh and the state government was that of rehabilitation of villagers living in tiger reserves. “The Centre is giving us Rs 50 crore for the rehabilitation of tribals and villagers living the reserves of Melghat and Tadoba. More funds will be provided if needed,” Chavan said.