State not to implement Project Tiger:?Rai

State not to implement Project Tiger:?Rai

Forest Minister B Ramanath Rai said that the state government has decided not to introduce Project Tiger despite the Central government's instructions on implementing it.

Speaking after inaugurating the 'Saalumarada Thimmakka Vriksha Udyanavana' here on Saturday, the forest minister said that the state government is firm on its decision. Besides the state government has also rejected the proposal to introduce the recommendations made in the Kasturi Rangan report in the state. He added that the Congress-led state government has taken the decision not to introduce both the Project Tiger and the recommendations of Kasturi Rangan Report to ensure people are out of fear of displacements and livelihood. The inhabitants of several villages in and around Kudremukh region were living under fear over Project Tiger as the project would have definitely displaced thousands of families in the region.

The minister added that the state government has decided to honour the martyrs in the forest department, who dedicated their lives to save wildlife and forest, with the CM's gold medal. The martyrs in the department are recognised for their outstanding contributions to the conservation of wildlife. He added that special remuneration is also being considered for the forest motivators who are offered Rs 9,000 as against the earlier Rs 4,000.

Stating that the state government is also embarking on bringing about a permanent solution to water problems in the severe drought-hit areas, the minister maintained that Paschimavahini is introduced and through which reservoirs are built to various rivers in the catchment area. Pointing out at the problems and the possible solution concerning the deemed forest complications, the minister assured that the deemed forest problems would be sorted out shortly.
A joint survey by revenue and forest department has identified 10 lakh hectares of land which would be brought out from the purview of deemed forest category. Rai said that the state government has set up a training centre at Gungurukatte in Dharwad to train range forest officers as earlier they were sent to the neighbouring states for training. He added that recruitment on a large scale is underway in the department. Seventy two sportspersons have been inducted into the department and another 52 are undergoing the recruitment formalities.

He added that the state government has also doubled the amount in the compensation packages, wherein the victim who loses life owing to the human and wild animal conflict would be compensated with Rs 5 lakh, while a partial disability would be compensated with Rs 2 lakh as against the earlier amount of Rs 25,000 and the person who suffers permanent disability will be offered Rs 5 lakh in place of the earlier amount of Rs 50,000. The compensation package for the crop loss due to the wild animal attack is also doubled, he noted.

Emphasising on the government measures to balance the conflict between human and wild animals, the minister said that the department has taken several measures to curtail the movement of wild animals. The recent one being the use of the old train railings to stop wild elephants from entering the human habitat. This is the first of its kind introduced in the country. He also added that Karnataka has the second largest forest cover in the country with highest number of tigers and elephants. Presiding over the programme, MLA Vinaykumar Sorake said that the forest department is being converted into people-friendly department under the aegis of Ramanath Rai.

Stating that the day is memorable for him as it was he who submitted the proposal for the tree park when he was the minister, Sorake stressed the need to maintain the park. PCCF Brijesh Kumar, CCF Dr Sanjay Bijjur, DCFs Ganesh Bhat, Prabhakaran, Karikalan, ACF M M Acchhappa and RFO Clifford Lobo among others were present.

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