Special Correspondent

Centre to complete formalities soon

‘State has strengthened conservation efforts’

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has agreed in principle to Kerala’s proposal for declaring the Parambikkulam Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve.

Stating this after inaugurating the Wildlife Week celebrations here on Tuesday, Union Minister for Environment and Forests S. Raghupathi said the Centre would soon complete the formalities in this regard.

The Centre considered the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Kerala as the best managed tiger reserve in the country, with the forest dwellers on its fringes actively assisting the official machinery in the conservation efforts. The PTR model of participatory forest management was being replicated in all the tiger reserves in the country.

He lauded the initiatives now on in the State to bring fresh tracts of ecological importance under protection and promised the State the Centre’s full support in such efforts.

Forest Minister Benoy Viswom, who presided over the function, said that the Left Democratic Front Government, during its 16-month tenure in office so far, had strengthened the conservation efforts in the State by bringing several new tracts of ecological significance under protection.

Besides declaring a 148-square-kilometre buffer zone for the Silent Valley National Park, the Government had given the status of ‘reserve forests’ to Mankulam area near Munnar and Vagamon area near Peerumedu to protect them from land-grabbers. The Government had also declared the kurunji-blooming tracts of Munnar as a ‘Kurunji Sanctuary.’

He said the Chulannur area in Palakkad district would be formally declared a ‘Peacock Sanctuary’ at a function there on Thursday. The Government also planned to turn Kadalundi in Malappuram district as a ‘Community Reserve’ to end poaching of migratory birds and conserve the wetlands that attracted the birds to the area. People of the villages of Kadalundi and Vallikkunnu would be the custodians of this reserve, he said.