GOOD NEWSIncrease in tiger numbers?
The much-awaited results of the second
tigerestimates for the country is to be announced inMarch-end,
and indications are that a slight rise innumbers may be expected.
Most cameras laid in the field to estimatetigers for the ongoing all India census did not work till monsoon and even after monsoon only about half of the cameras were operational. In some reserves,cameras have not even been set up. Given thesituation, how will results be declared in March-end as scheduled.
Eight more tiger reserves
Minister of State (Independent Charge) Environmentand Forests (MEF) Jairam Ramesh said on November12
that India will soon have eight new tiger reservesadded to the 39 already in existence. These includeSathyamangalam in Tamil Nadu, BR Hills in Karnataka,Suhelwa and Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, Sunabeda inOrissa, Ratapani in Madhya Pradesh and Navegaon-Nagzira and Bor in Maharashtra. These reserves areexpected to come up in about six to eight months.
Bindu Shajan Perappadan, The Hindu,
November 14, 2010,
Astha Kukreti, Delhi Greens,
Nov. 13, 2010,
Nafisa Islam, Tehelka,
Nov. 12, 2010.
Good news, as we said, but on one hand the government announces new reserves, and theother the onslaught on the existing reservescontinues i.e. highway through Pench, mines around Tadoba, submergence by dams etc. Also, some of these reserves like Sunabeda and Pilibhit have beenhave been awaiting the nod from state governmentsfor years —eight in the case of Pilibhit. Fact is, thecentre may have announced its intention, but it isthe states who must, but are reluctant to declare newTRs. We also need to assess the status of the newlydeclared tiger reserves. What is the criteria on what they were declared? Were field assessments done?It is witnessed that in most cases they are tiger reserves only in name, without the requisite protectionor wildlife management.
Mukandara Hills to be declared TR
NTCA has given in-principle approval for declaringMukandara Hills National Park in Rajasthan which
includes Darrah, Jwahar Sagar and Chambal Wildlifesanctuaries to be declared as a tiger reserve. This isaimed to function as the satellite core of theRanthambhore Tiger Reserve.
Enhanced pay package for TR staff
In a letter addressed to the Chief Wildlife Wardens of all tiger range states, National Tiger ConservationAuthority (NTCA) Member Secretary Dr Rajesh Gopalhas directed an approval to “double the existing rates of project allowance for the existing categories of employees working in tiger reserves.” The enhancedpackage is applicable from September 1
Letter No. 15-3/2010-NTCA from Dr Rajesh Gopal to CWWs, Dated 27
When Project Tiger was created, therewas provision of special pay at all levels for the staff of reserve areas, which was enhanced in the 9
planscheme of Project Tiger. Most of the states did not implement it, even though the Government of Indiawas bearing the entire cost. How can we ensure that the enhanced package will be given to the staff thistime? The other related issue is the urgent need toaddress the payment of the daily wagers who formthe bulk of the frontline staff. Wages are not paid for months in most reserves due to delay in receivingfunds, mainly due to non- implementation of NTCAdirective to expedite the functioning of Tiger Conservation Foundation and the state governmentspractice of delaying release of funds.
The Union Cabinet on January 13 approved the creationof four posts in the rank of Inspector General of Forestsfor the regional offices and headquarters of the NationalTiger Conservation Authority. In conjunction with therecent decision to set up three regional offices of theNTCA in Nagpur, Guwahati and Bangalore, this isexpected to give a boost to India’s tiger conservationefforts. Welcoming the decision, the MEF JairamRamesh said: “This is a great step forward. There wasa crying need for decentralisation so that we canenhance the monitoring of our conservation efforts andimprove the quality and timeliness of support we givethe field directors of our 39 tiger reserves across thecountry. There is no doubt that this will strengthen thecapacity of the NTCA to deliver on its mandate, andprovide new teeth to our tiger conservation efforts.”
January 13, 2011, MoEF