Jairam gives Kudremukh to tigers

Minister shoots down proposal for commando training centre

Jairam gives Kudremukh to tigers

The Kudremukh National Park will soon be brought under the tiger conservation project, Union Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said here.

He told a media conference on Sunday that his ministry had rejected the Karnataka government’s proposal to set up a police or commando training centre at Kudremukh. The ministry had also turned down the proposal of Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited to convert the place into an ecotourism destination.

The State government had been told in clear terms that no hydel project would be allowed in the Western Ghats with the sole intention of preserving flora and fauna.

Ramesh said Karnataka stood first in the country in terms of tiger population with 350 predators. “The process to bring the National Park under tiger conservation project is almost complete. A notification will be issued in a week or two,” the minister said. 

The National Park would be retained as a research centre for biodiversity, forest and wildlife and no non-forest activities would be allowed there. 

The number of tiger conservation sanctuaries in the country would go up to 41, including the ones at Biligiriranganabetta and Kudremukh National Park.

While six tigers had died of natural causes in Karnataka, there had not been a single case of tiger hunting last year. The minister hailed the forest officials’ role in the success of conservation measures.

Night traffic ban

Ramesh said night traffic ban through Bandipur had brought down instances of death of wild animals. It had also helped to check smuggling and hunting.

“Both legal and illegal mining have been endangering environment in Karnataka. None of the state governments had been permitted to allow mining in reserve forest areas. No new proposals for mining will be accepted,” the minister said.

‘Eco-sensitive areas’ would be identified on the periphery of the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries where non-forest activities would be banned.  Human activities would not be allowed in a certain radius of such areas and collection of forest produce will not be permitted.

A proposal to provide LPG on subsidy to forest dwellers in the vicinity of tiger conservation projects in the country is under study. Ramesh said the NGO ‘Namma Sangha’ in Karnataka had given 35,000 LPG connections to forest dwellers near Bandipur on a pilot basis.

“As a result, felling trees for firewood has come down drastically. It is being planned to extend the programme across the country,” Ramesh said. A compensation of Rs 10 lakh will be paid to the families which agreed to relocate from Bhadra reserve forests. There had been no forcible shifting, he said.

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