STATE PUSHES FOR MORE FUNDS FOR RELOCATION AT NBWL MEETING - 7th September 2012

TNN
NAGPUR: The Maharashtra government has pushed for more funds for relocation of villages from the protected areas (PAs) in the state at the National Board for Wild Life (NBWL) meeting chaired by prime minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday.

Swadheen Kshatriya, additional chief secretary for revenue, who also holds additional charge of forest secretary, represented the state at the meeting, which was attended by 15 NGOs and 10 states among other members. Principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) SWH Naqvi, who too was invited and was in Delhi, could not make it owing to security reasons.

According to sources, Kshatriya was among other states to demand more funds for relocation of villages. The state demanded Rs125 crore annually for relocation. The officials believe if this amount is released in a sustained manner for five years, villages voluntarily wanting to move out of PAs can be relocated, of course after fulfilling conditions under the Forest Rights Act (FRA).

Kshatriya also wanted the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to release funds for PAs under the centrally sponsored scheme (CSS) in April-May for better management. The funds are released in August-October, till then there is no money to pay wages to forest workers.

In an another development, Kishor Rithe, president of Satpuda Foundation and NBWL member, raised the burning issue of linear intrusions like irrigation canal network, power transmission lines, highways and railway lines creating obstacles in smooth movement of tigers and wildlife in the corridors across Central India.
"As a result, large number of wild animals get killed in accidents due to these projects. Obstruction to wildlife movement by these projects, leads to crop depredation by wild animals, loss of humans and cattle due to attacks from carnivores," Rithe briefed during the meeting.
Rithe said while achieving development, agencies concerned need to give serious consideration to implement mitigation measures while planning any development and infrastructure project.

The prime minister agreed on the issues raised by Rithe and asked minister of environment and forests Jayanthi Natarajan to write to all the states on the issue.

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