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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

HC seeks reply on tiger task force delay

TNN Jun 3, 2012, 03.34AM IST LUCKNOW: Taking cognizance of three tiger deaths in UP within a week, the high court has asked the Central and state governments to explain why the proposed Special Task Force for protection of tigers in the national parks not been constituted yet. The court has also directed state government to set up the task force before July first week. The court will hear the case in July first week. The order was passed by a division bench of Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice VK Dixit on a PIL seeking directions to the government for constitution of the force. The Central government's counsel told the court that the Centre has released the funds and now the onus is on the state to set up the task force. The idea of setting up a dedicated tiger protection force was mooted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 5, 2007. Dudhwa, along with 16 tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Bihar was nominated to be manned by the special task force to accord protection to the dwindling population of big cats against rampant poaching. The task force will comprise forest guards and locals. Besides shortage of forest guards, most of them are old too, said sources. Dudhwa, in 2008, was sanctioned one company of 120 trained personnel for STF. The company was to be headed by an assistant commandant, deemed to be at par with an assistant superintendent of police. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was expected to bear the expenses for arms and vehicles for patrolling and other logistics involved. The specialised force was to be recruited by the state home department as per the rules and regulation finalised by the state government and the Centre. Its recruitment and deployment was meant to be confined to man the tiger belt alone. The state government was to make arrangements for training of the personnel and setting up the infrastructural support required. Meanwhile, additional advocate general, UP, Zafaryab Jilani said he would seek instructions from the state government on the issue.

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