NAGPUR: Four years ago when the buffer zone for Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) was notified, political activists raised an objection that 79 villages inside the zone will have to move out. Now the same tigers are bringing money for individual and community development
in these villages. In the last three years, Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve Conservation Foundation (TATRCF) has distributed over Rs1.5 crore (1 crore = 10 000 000) to Eco-Development Committees (EDCs) in buffer villages for individual and community development. The money is from tourism receipts. In 2011-12, 52 EDCs were given Rs26.52 lakh (1 lakh = 100 000) from the TCF. In 2012-13, 12 EDCs were given Rs14.72 lakh. Besides, one EDC in core area was given Rs90,000 and Rs9.84 lakh for LPG distribution. "This year we plan to distribute approximately Rs 1 crore to EDCs," said Virendra Tiwari, chief conservator of forests (CCF) & field director of TATR.
The villages include Alizanja, Malbamni, Nimdhela, Mohbodi, Katval, Khatera, Gonmohadi, Vihirgaon, Mamla, Sitarampeth, Madanapur, Vasera, Bembala, Katvan, Petgaon, Maroda, Kitali and Kolara. Of this, Kolara has been already given Rs1.95 lakh for solar lights. Recently, a man from this village was killed by a tiger.
He added around Rs16 lakh had been set aside for toilets for 128 families in Bhagwanpur in Mul, where two Tadoba villages have been resettled. Meadow development at Navegaon will be done with Rs10 lakh and Rs25 lakh for creation of water bodies in the buffer zone. "We also felicitate outstanding SSC and HSC students in villages," said Tiwari. He said that another project being implemented was to construct parapet walls for open wells in vulnerable villages.
"Tourism money being distributed among locals is a victory for tigers and and a rebuff to mining lobby that had tried every trick to stall buffer notification. Locals should definitely benefit because of regulations they face in buffer," said Kishor Rithe, member of state wildlife board. Tadoba's tiger economy
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