PM to talk to states on rising tiger deaths

Last Updated: Saturday, March 20, 2010 - 21:07

New Delhi: With rising tiger deaths
becoming a great cause of worry for the government, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh has decided to personally take up the
matter with the states, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh
said Saturday.

The prime minister expressed his concern regarding
unnatural tiger deaths in reserves during a meeting of
National Board for Wildlife held on Thursday, Ramesh told
reporters.

He said Singh will also talk to state governments on
the delay in notifying buffer zones in protected areas which
was having a negative impact on wildlife.

Majority of the states are yet to bring the identified
buffer areas in sanctuaries, tiger reserves and protected
areas under the legal ambit which would ban construction and
any infrastructural projects.

"However, the states do not want so. Hence, the delay
in notification," Ramesh said.

Pointing to 60 tiger deaths last year, the minister
said "a conspiracy" has been hatched by mining and estate
mafia with the support of some politicians.

"The prime minister has agreed to lend weight of his
office for monitoring state governments. He will also take up
the matter with chief ministers of various states,
particularly Uttarakhand government about unnatural tiger
deaths in Corbett National Park," he said.

"It is a great cause of worry that 60 tigers died last
year against the average mortality of 30 reported in the past.

These are not accidents.

"It is a conspiracy hatched by mining and estate mafia
supported by politicians who will be benefited by eliminating
tigers. They want the land for mining and construction
purpose," Ramesh said when asked about the reasons for the
tiger deaths.

As per recent official estimates, there are about
1,400 big cats across the 37 tiger reserves in the country, a
sharp decline from 10,000 reported a decade ago.

According to Ramesh, at least 18 tiger reserves are in
a precarious situation with tiger populations nearing
extinction.

On the ongoing village relocation work in tiger
reserves, he said Rs 8,000 crore would be required to move
77,000 families over the next seven years. So far, out of
80,000 identified families in 37 reserves, only 3000 have been
relocated.

The Minister pointed that families keen to move out
from the protected areas will be offered Rs 10 lakh financial
help as is being done for those in tiger reserves.

"There is a general perception that we are supporting
only village relocation in tiger reserves. But any family
which voluntarily wants to move out even if it is protected
area, we would provide financial compensation of Rs 10 lakh to
it," he said.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, March 20, 2010 - 21:07

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