No new construction in tiger reserves’ core areas: NTCA

Updated on Jul 30, 2022 02:58 AM IST

Yadav also tweeted that the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife in its 69th meeting on Friday recommended potable water supply proposals in Bihar, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir to overcome the difficulty faced by the local people, pilgrims and tourists.

The NTCA has also decided to put in efforts to move away from tiger centric tourism. (ANI)
The NTCA has also decided to put in efforts to move away from tiger centric tourism. (ANI)
ByJayashree Nandi, New Delhi

The National Tiger Conservation Authority will keep the core areas of tiger reserves inviolate. The decision was taken during the 21st meeting of NTCA on Friday on the occasion of World Tiger Day.

“Chaired the 21st National Tiger Conservation Authority meeting at Tadoba Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra in the presence of Shri @AshwiniKChoubey. To strengthen tiger conservation, the meeting decided to keep the core areas inviolate and focus on stakeholders’ capacity building,” tweeted Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav.

“The meeting also decided to provide greater thrust to technology and to work harder for inclusive infrastructure growth in sync with wildlife conservation and promoting diversification of tourism,” he added.

Yadav also tweeted that the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife in its 69th meeting on Friday recommended potable water supply proposals in Bihar, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir to overcome the difficulty faced by the local people, pilgrims and tourists.

These proposals involve diversion of forest land.

“Considering the requirements of connectivity for the remote villages in Jammu and Kashmir, SC-NBWL in its meeting today recommended road proposals under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana with mitigation measures,”Yadav added in a tweet.

“We have decided to not allow any new construction in the core areas of tiger reserves. Of course, this was always the mandate of the Wild Life (Protection) Act but now we plan to implement it in letter and spirit. Core areas will be for thriving and breeding of tigers and other wildlife alone. In many tiger reserves, there have been constructions in core areas. Take for example the core area of Corbett where some tourism infrastructure has come up. That will be completely prohibited,” said a senior official of NTCA.

The NTCA has also decided to put in efforts to move away from tiger centric tourism. “Now we have a situation where people come to see only tigers to the forests and if there is no sighting, they are disappointed. But we want to focus on other features like birds, biodiversity, local culture around tiger reserves also,” the official explained.

“In the Wild Life (Protection) Act it is clearly mentioned that the core of tiger reserves has to be inviolate. Other than anti-poaching camps or protection huts nothing much can come in but there was tourism that was always happening in the core. A few years ago, based on a litigation filed, NTCA took cognizance of what was happening and they restricted tourism to a maximum 20% of core. Parks which had tourism in less than 20% of the core had to freeze it in that much area. There were some states who were probably asking for permission to continue tourism even in monsoon in the core and also night safaris in the core. So, NTCA has clarified it once again that there should be no such activity happening in the core,” said Anish Andheria, President, Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “On International Tiger Day, I laud all those who are actively working to protect the tiger. It would make you proud that India has 52 tiger reserves covering over 75,000 sq. km. Innovative measures are being undertaken to involve local communities in tiger protection.”

“The current provisions provide for conservation of the core area, buffer and even the eco-sensitive zone around the buffer then why are we only talking about the core inviolate? The core areas are already protected under the law. No destruction is allowed in these areas. They should have extended the decision of keeping areas inviolate to the ESZ. What is the use if you keep the core inviolate and allow everything in the ESZ?” asked environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta.

Recently, the Union environment ministry drew flak for allowing state governments and Union territories to refer proposals for diversion of forest land to the Centre, even if the land is within a national park, tiger reserve, wildlife corridor, habitat of endangered species or an area within a severely eroded catchment, provided they can justify it and suggest appropriate mitigation measures under the forest conservation rules of 2022 notified on June 28.

India now has 2,967 tigers, or seven out of every 10 big cats in the wild in the world, according to the All-India Tiger Estimation Results released in 2019 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The number reflects a 33% increase over 2014 when there were 2,226 tigers in the country. Madhya Pradesh has the highest number with 526 tigers, followed by 524 in Karnataka and 442 in Uttarakhand.

But, tiger numbers had more than halved in Chhattisgarh from 46 in 2014 to 19 in 2018. Mizoram and northern West Bengal which had tiger signs in 2014 have not recorded any signs this time. Tigers were not recorded in Buxa, West Bengal, Dampa in Mizoram and Palamau in Jharkhand. All three reserves recorded tiger signs in the 2014 census. And Odisha hadn’t recorded any improvement in tiger numbers.

Get Latest India Newsalong with Latest Newsand Top Headlinesfrom India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, October 03, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals