Karnataka has emerged as the 1st state to deploy Special Tiger Protection Force (STPS). Giving away Awards for best performance to various Tiger Reserves of the country in the national capital the Minister of State (I/C) for Environment & Forest Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan said that field protection continues to remain very high on our tiger agenda. The states are supported in a big way to deploy local workforce for protection. Besides, we are persuading the States to raise, arm and deploy of the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF). This needs to be expedited by the States. Despite, 100% central assistance to four States (Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Orisa), the deployment of STPF has not taken place.
The Minister was addressing All India Meeting of Field Directors of Tiger Reserves. Smt. Natarajan said that since last year, we have sharpened our focus on the tiger. The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger was revised in August, 2011. Its allotment was stepped up to Rs. 1216.86 Crores, especially to support the States for securing inviolate space for tigers. Several additional components have also been included: (i) Change in the funding pattern in respect of North Eastern States (90:10), (ii) Raising compensation for man-animal conflict to Rs. 2 lakh, (iii) Acquisition of private land for making the core/critical tiger habitat inviolate, (iv) establishment of Tiger Safari, interpretation/awareness centres under the existing component of ‘co-existence agenda in buffer/fringe areas’, and management of such centres through the respective Panchayati Raj Institution, and (v) Re-introduction of Cheetah.
The Minister said that Project Tiger is one of the most important flagship programmes of my Ministry. Soon after taking over as Minister, I have been addressing the State Chief Ministers on various issues, besides supporting new initiates to strengthen the cause. Tiger conservation is a collective responsibility between Government of India, State Governments and Civil Society. Today tigers need support form one and all.
The Minister revealed that the 2010 country level snapshot assessment of such assessment in 2006. However, the outcome has highlighted the need for restoring the fringe areas of tiger reserves and the connecting forest linkages. The independent Management Effectiveness Evaluation of tiger reserves has also underlined the actionable points. Both these finding should be factored in our tiger conservation strategy by reflecting them in the Tiger Conservation Plan of tiger reserves.