Three new havens for tigers

Cats in the wild: Reserves in M.P., Odisha, Chhattisgarh.

April 22, 2015 01:59 am | Updated 07:41 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The government has also enhanced punishment for offences in a tiger reserve. File photo: M.A. Sriram

The government has also enhanced punishment for offences in a tiger reserve. File photo: M.A. Sriram

In a move that comes soon after the tiger census in January showed an overall rise in numbers of the big cat, the Centre is set to form three new tiger reserves.

In-principle approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for creation of reserves in Ratapani in Madhya Pradesh, Sunabeda in Odisha and Guru Ghasidas in Chhattisgarh, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Odisha is among the States where the tiger population has dwindled. The NTCA also accorded final approval to a proposal to declare Kudremukh National Park in Karnataka and Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand as tiger reserves. Seeking to provide more protected spaces for the endangered species, State governments have been asked to send conservation proposals for the following areas: Suhelwa in Uttar Pradesh, Mhadei in Goa, Srivilliputtur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary/ Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary/ Varushanadu Valley in Tamil Nadu, Dibang in Arunachal Pradesh and Cauvery-MM Hills in Karnataka.

Punishments for violation of tiger reserve rules and hunting or altering the boundaries of tiger reserves have been enhanced. As per the Ministry’s country-level assessment, India hosted an estimated 2226 tigers in 2014.

Diverted for mining

However, in reply to another question, Mr. Javadekar revealed that over one lakh hectares of forest land has been diverted for mining projects. Chhattisgarh witnessed the largest such diversion.

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