Hyderabad: The Telangana government does not seem to be serious about taking long-term measures to conserve the tigers residing in the state's two tiger reserves — Kawal and Amrabad.
Last year, the Forest department had announced with much fanfare about sanctioning an armed Special Tiger Protection Force for Kawal and Amrabad tiger reserves by the central government.
However, in this year’s budget there is no separate allocation of funds for raising the STPF. The central government provides only 60 per cent of the funds required, with the remaining to be given by the state government.
The situation for tigers looks gloomy in Telangana as there is no mention of any allocation for Project Tiger in the 2016-17 budget against last year’s Rs 2.56 crore.
Maharashtra, Karnataka and Odisha have already raised STPFs for Bandipur (Karnataka), Tadoba-Andhari and Pench (Maharashtra) and Similipal (Odisha) tiger reserves. Recently, the Uttarakhand government too gave a nod for forming an STPF for the Corbett Tiger Reserve. STPF personnel are to be young armed guards trained by police special forces who will be allowed to work in the force till they are 40.
A Forest official said, “Till now no meetings have been conducted to discuss formation of the STPF. The basic framework is not ready as to how recruitment is to be conducted, where the personnel will be deputed after they retire at 40 or about procurement of weapons and getting a nod from the home ministry for it. A strong political will is necessary.”
Another major issue which has been pending for long is relocation of the villages located in the two tiger reserves.
A senior Forest department official said, “Three villages in Kawal and two in Amrabad have given 100 per cent consent for relocation but the government has failed to provide them attractive financial and land packages which will encourage them to relocate, like in other states. The financial compensation needs to be increased from the present Rs 10 lakh per family.”