Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sangli's 10 tigers get Rs 28cr but Vid's 139 only Rs 3.8cr-Times of India

Sangli's 10 tigers get Rs 28cr but Vid's 139 only Rs 3.8cr

Vijay Pinjarkar , TNN, Apr 6, 2010, 04.25am IST
NAGPUR: It is not just people of Vidarbha who suffer discrimination within Maharashtra. The step-motherly treatment extends to even wild animals. Even though Vidarbha has a bulk of Maharashtra's forests and wildlife, most of the funds for their protection are being siphoned off to western Maharashtra.

The manner in which funds were distributed under the state plan in 2009-10 show how the government, in its eagerness to take monies to western Maharashtra, is even leaving state's tigers unprotected. Of Rs 41.56 crore grants released under various heads, only Rs 3.78 crore were given for Vidarbha, while protected areas (PAs) in Western Maharashtra, which have only a fraction of wildlife of Vidarbha, managed to grab the rest.

Apart from the grants released under the centrally sponsored scheme (CSS) by the ministry of environment & forests (MoEF), money is released under state plan for promoting eco-tourism, wildlife protection, relocation of villages inside PAs, forest tourism, rescue centres and nature conservation.

Of the Rs 3.78 crore, Nagpur Wildlife Circle got Rs 1.80 crore for eco-tourism. It includes Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (Rs 96 lakh); Pench (54 lakh); Bor (Rs 12 lakh); Tipeshwar (Rs 7.50 lakh); Chaprala (Rs 8.71 lakh) and Bhamragarh (Rs 2.10 lakh). Besides, Rs 1.43 crore were released for Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR) including Rs 1.25 crore for MTR; Rs 7.40 lakh for Wan and Rs 10.60 lakh for Ambabarwa sanctuaries.

The state released Rs 3.18 lakh for a nature interpretation centre in Nagpur. Nagzira and Navegaon areas were completely ignored. Rs 10.67 lakh has been released for development of forest garden in Chikhaldara; Rs 6.67 lakh for Wadali (Amravati) and Rs 62.17 lakh for proposed works on Gorewada Zoo. The PAs in Vidarbha got Rs 3.24 crore but considering their area and importance, this is meagre.

These PAs constitute an area of 3,644 sq km and as per the 2007 official census figures have 139 tigers. The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) puts the figure at 103 (excluding cubs). On the other hand, huge sum of Rs 25.79 crore was released for relocation of villages inside Chandoli National Park, which is part of forest minister Patangrao Kadam's constituency Sangli. Conservationists say this is a cruel joke on tigers of Tadoba and Melghat where 24 villages need to be relocated on priority.