New Delhi: Concerned over tiger deaths in
reserves across the country, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has
decided to personally take up the matter with state
governments, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Saturday.
The prime minister expressed his concern regarding
tiger deaths in the reserves during the meeting of National
Board for Wildlife held on Thursday, Ramesh told reporters
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 the 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
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. The government has initiated a process of moving
out local communities from tiger reserves by providing
financial package of Rs 10 lakh to each family.