The Madhya Pradesh government does not seem to be serious about Tiger conservation. If information from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) is to be believed, the state government’s response to several initiatives of the Union government regarding tiger conservation has been cold to say the least.

According to information shared withThe Hindu by Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh during his last visit to the State, the notification of the buffer area as required under section 38V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, for various reserves is pending with the State government.

Similarly, the notification of the core/critical tiger habitat of the Sanjay-Dubri Tiger Reserve is also pending with the state government.

Further, under the same act, the state was required to prepare a Tiger Conservation Plan. However, such a plan for only two reserves has been submitted by the state and even that does not include any information on the required buffer area.

Reserve-specific TCF and tiger extinction in Panna

Another seemingly major violation of requirements of section 38X of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, relates to the constitution of reserve-specific Tiger Conservation Foundations (TCF). However, the MP government has constituted a single, state-level TCF instead of the required reserve-specific TCF.

Also, there is no representation of eco-development committees and frontline staff of reserves, local MLAs and district panchayats in the governing body constituted by the state.

About the local extinction of tigers in Panna, the state is yet to respond to the report of the Special Investigative Team (SIT) sent by MoEF. Further, although permission has been granted by the MoEF for translocating four tigers, there has been no headway made in the matter yet. The search efforts to locate the tigers in Bandhavgarh were called off on Thursday after just one day.

There has also been no progress regarding the handing over of the case of tiger extinction to CBI. The MoEF had recommended so due to the national ramifications of the local extinction of tigers from Panna.

Tripartite MoU

Madhya Pradesh is yet to sign the tripartite tiger conservation MoU mooted by the MoEF. The state has opposed the agreement, especially the clause that makes directors of tiger reserves accountable for any lapses.

The issue of the MoU figured during Mr. Ramesh’s visit to the state on September 12th. Further, the state is yet to sign the tripartite MoU mooted by the MoEF. The state has opposed the agreement, especially the clause that makes directors of tiger reserves accountable for any lapses.

The state government’s lackadaisical approach to tiger conservation is reflected in the underutilization of funds released by the MoEF for the purpose. Out of the released Rs.6998.542 Lakhs for the year 2008-09, only Rs.5339.16 was utilized.

There has been no release of funds for the year 2008-10 due to the state government’s opposition to the said MoU.

Out of the 72 tigers found dead in India this year, 10 have been from Madhya Pradesh alone, out of which at least three have died due to poaching.