Confused over the number game between the Centre and the State government, the NCP on Saturday asked the State government to clarify on the exact number of tigers in the State. The issue was raised by the NCP legislature party leader Amar Satpathy during the zero hour where he sought a clarification over the number of big cats in the State.

Terming it as “utter confusion”, Satpathy said that while the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) says there were only 31 tigers in Orissa, the State government claimed that the number could be more than that.

“The State's principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) had already rejected the Centre's report,” Satpathy pointed out asking the State government to give the actual figure on the tiger population if the Centre was wrong on head counts of big cats.

The NCP leader, however, agreed with the State government's argument that many tiger habitations were not taken into consideration during the All India Tiger Estimation Exercise for 2010.

“Will the State government undertake a fresh survey on the tiger population in the State,” he asked.

Tiger counting could not be undertaken in different places including Sunabeda forest and Chitrakonda area in Malkangiri district due to Maoist fear, Satpathy said. PTI