Nagpur: Maharashtra`s Vidarbha region, which has several tiger projects and wild life sanctuaries in close proximity, may shape up as the tiger capital of the country.
Former Union Minister and Nagpur MP Vilas Muttemwar, who has approached several state and central level ministers to push for the tiger capital project, said Tadoba Tiger
project is situated about 160 kms from the city and Bor sanctuary (about 90 kms).
Navegaon and Nagzira wildlife sanctuaries are also located in Vidarbha besides the Kanha National Park in neighbouring Seoni district, about 200 kms from Nagpur, he
More than 250 tigers out of the total population of 1,400 in the country are in the Vidarbha region.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has liked the concept and agreed to take up the issue with the Centre. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai and Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh, have also evinced interest in the project.
Last week, Muttemwar wrote to the Prime Minister on the issue.
Meanwhile, Ramesh said the government has decided to open three regional offices of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) with the first one expected to be opened in Nagpur next month.
"The regional office of NTCA would take forward the work of tiger conservation in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh which are very important tiger habitats where close to 40 per cent of India`s tiger population reside," Ramesh said recently in a communication to Muttemwar.
Ramesh further said the Centre is in touch with Maharashtra government to notify two more tiger reserves in the state in Nagzira/Navegaon and Bor.It is also taking many
measures to protect the Tadoba-Andhari habitat in Chandrapur district, he said.
Sahai in a communication last Friday told Muttemwar that Vidarbha has got all the potential to develop as a wild and adventure tourism destination.
The region could also attract productive investments besides creating employment opportunities, he said.
Muttemwar said about 80 million tourists visit India and a majority of them are interesting in seeing the wild cats roaming freely in the jungles. If they can be attracted to
Vidarbha with good infrastructure like accommodation, transport and tourist guides and other facilities, a good amount of revenue from tourism can be earned here.
There can be employment opportunities for about 20,000 to 30,000 youth in various support staff like drivers for tourists vehicles, guides, hotel staff and travel and tourism
agencies operating here, he said.
The MP said a two-day conference on tiger project capital is being organised in early April and said both Central ministers along with Chavan and Maharashtra Forest
Minister Patangrao Kadam are being invited along with stake holders to discuss threadbare the project.