In the wake of reports of a spill over of tigers from the Ranthambhore National Park and the fatal internecine conflicts which is leading to deaths of the big cats, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot made an unscheduled visit to the area in Sawai Madhopur district on Sunday morning along with Minister for Environment and Forests Ramlal Jat. He visited the Park and had his reward for sparing a Sunday -- the sighting of a tigress, T-17, at the Malik Talab area.
Within the short time the Park authorities, now grappling with the intense pressure from celebrity visitors in connection with the wedding ceremony of actor Russel Brand and pop singer Katy Perry in a resort situated outside the Park, got their act together and presented a report card to Mr. Gehlot. Principal Secretary Forest and Environment V.S. Singh, Principal Chief Conservator Forest R.N. Mehrotra, Chief Wildlife Warden H.P. Bhatia, besides the Field Director R.S. Shekhawat, joined the discussions with the Chief Minister at Jogi Mahal in the Park.
Mr. Gehlot instructed the officials to complete the construction of the 87 km boundary wall of the Park to ward off intruders and also to stop easy exit of tigers from the park. He suggested developing the existing forest between Lakheri and Ramgarh in the adjoining Bundi district for giving more space to the tribe of tigers which are multiplying in Ranthambhore. He also stressed on harnessing tourism in the area.
The Chief Minister also felt that more villages within the Park should be re-located and for this, an atmosphere should be created among the inhabitants.
The compensation to each family moving out of the park has been now raised from Rs.1 lakh earlier to Rs.10 lakhs, he noted. There was a need to improve the conditions of residents of villages located just outside the Park as well, he said. The authorities told him that the Government has provided the villagers with 6,000 LPG connections at half the normal rate. Electricity connection to villagers for growing fodder would be given on a priority basis, they informed.
The three-year-old T-17 too seemingly benefited from giving a “darshan” to the State Chief Minister as she got a “name” for that.
After sighting her Mr. Gehlot suggested that the tiger could be re-named “Krishna” to commemorate the golden feat of Rajasthan's athlete Krishna Poonia in discuss throw at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games. And now we have an athlete tiger in Ranthambhore!