Considering the fast dwindling population of tigers across the country as well as the increasing man-animal conflicts owing to elephants in four States, Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh on Thursday reiterated the need for visible and objective implementation of Project Elephant on the lines of Project Tiger.
Talking to reporters here, Mr. Ramesh said the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, to be declared as a Tiger Reserve on Friday, will be the 39th in the country and second in Kerala.
The country as on date had 1,100 to 1,200 tigers and 1,411 might be too optimistic a number.
Only five percent of the forest areas had tiger population. From a stage of 30 tiger deaths a year, the country reached a stage of losing 60 tigers last year. After Panna and Sariska, Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand witnessed a large number of tiger deaths recently, he said.
The Ministry recently constituted a 11-member task force, headed by Mahesh Rangarajan, to look into issues concerning elephants, since the rise in its population was giving room for a lot of man-animal conflicts. A total of 26,000 elephants are estimated to be in India, 70 per cent of them in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Assam. There were many issues that called for a visible and objective implementation of Project Elephant on the lines of Project Tiger. Mr.Ramesh lamented “the cruel and raw deal being meted out to elephants in sacred temples”.
Mr.Jairam Ramesh said a proposal for neutrino observatory at Shingara in the Nilgiris was a closed chapter but as far as the alternative location for the project at Suruli forests in Theni district was concerned, his Ministry was yet to receive a proposal.
During the ensuing session of Parliament the National Green Tribunal is expected to come into being to serve the role of a special environment court. The court would deal with civil cases pertaining to forest and environment, especially on defective or non-implementation of laws.
The comprehensive amendment to Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 is expected to get through in this session.
Work on the first-ever 100 per cent green building on two acres of land at an outlay of Rs 100 crore in New Delhi would begin in April/May this year.
The building would ensure saving of 60 per cent electricity consumption by avoiding the need for air-conditioners.