NATIONAL

Nagpur to be promoted as tiger capital: Jairam

Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on Friday complimented Maharashtra on the increase in tiger population in the State. Nagpur will be promoted as the tiger capital and a gateway to tiger land, he said.

Mr. Ramesh had a two-and-half-hour meeting with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and many senior officials from the Centre and State to arrive at critical decisions to develop infrastructure and tourism.

Thirteen of the country's 39 tiger reserves are in Maharashtra. New guidelines for eco tourism will be announced next week to boost tourism especially in Project Tiger areas, Mr. Ramesh said.

New reserves

New tiger reserves have been approved in the State at Nagzira-Navegaon and Bor.

Another major decision was to decentralise the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and set up three field offices and the first one would be opened in Nagpur. Mr. Ramesh said he would extend all assistance to help Nagpur emerge as a major eco tourism destination and the setting up of the NTCA office would be a step forward.

In addition, Rs.50 crore will be provided for resettlement of villages inside the Melghat and Tadoba tiger reserves.

He said he and Mr. Chavan would be inaugurating a project next week in Gadchiroli after the announcement by his Ministry that bamboo can now be treated a minor forest produce (MFP).

Nodal agency

The nodal agency would be the gram sabha and it would open a new era of the Forest Department working with the people.