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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Include Goa in Tiger Reserve Complex: WII

Goa has five wildlife sanctuaries and a national park The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has suggested inclusion of Goa as a part of the Tiger Reserve complex complimenting the sanctuaries in Maharashtra and Karnataka, which would help the coastal state in conserving wild cats. The Dehradun-based Institute, which submitted its report on the status of wildlife in Goa to the state forest department has established that tiger occupancy in Goa is about 322 square kilometres. Goa can be potentially be home to a small breeding population of tigers which would be sustained by immigrants from Anshi-Dandeli wildlife sanctuary (in Karnataka) as well as Sahyadri wildlife sanctuary (in Maharashtra). The census conducted in 2010, and results of which were formally sent to Goa forest department few days back, notes that tiger presence is recorded in Mollem wildlife sanctuary and in forests of Ponda and Sanguem area. Goa has five wildlife sanctuaries and a national park. The report states that Goa forms part of the corridor connecting Anshi-Dandeli in Karnataka and Sahyadri tiger reserve in Maharashtra. "It would therefore benefit from being incorporated as part of tiger reserve complex," the WII said. State forest department officials said the proposal to declare Goa's forest areas as tiger reserve has been under consideration but final thought is not given to it. "There are so many intricacies attached to it once the Tiger Reserve is announced. We have several human settlements in wildlife sanctuaries. But the process to relocate them is far from over," a senior forest department official said. Environmentalists, however, claim that the state government's reluctance to declare wildlife sanctuaries especially Mhadei as a tiger reserve, is aimed at saving Goa's multi-crore iron ore mining industry.

Bandh observed in Gudalur to protest GOs pertaining to MTR

TNN | Sep 12, 2012, 05.51AM IST UDHAGAMANDALAM: A 'total bandh', called by all political parties was observed in the Gudalur constituency in Nilgiris on Tuesday, to protest the two government orders pertaining to the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR). More than 10 political parties including, DMK, AIADMK, MDMK, CPI, CPM and BJP participated in the 24-hour bandh across villages including Masinagudi, Naduvattam, Pykara and Gudalur. All tea plantation workers in the Gudalur area were in support of the protest. The bandh was convened by N Vasu, CPM Nilgiris district secretariat member. The town wore a deserted look as all shops were closed for the day and the roads were bare except for government buses plying with minimal passengers. "The protest was a success as over 1000 vehicles including autos and taxis did not operate. Even schools in Gudalur registered sparse attendance as students also supported the bandh," said Vasu. Vasu said that the protest was to make the government withdraw the two orders regarding the MTR. "Our main demands are the government should withdraw the two GOs pertaining to the MTR and resolve issues related to 'janmam' land under section 17 immediately," he added. According to him, as per GO 145/2007 the core area of the MTR had been marked as 221 sq km and about 100 sq km had been identified as buffer zone. However, in the GO no 200 dated August 13, 2012, the government has declared the notified area of 321 sq km as core area of the MTR and around 300 sq km surrounding the core area as buffer zone. "As per the latest GO over 2000 families dwelling in Mayar, Masinagudi and Vazhaithottam areas come under the core zone and they are compelled to vacate their land. How could one leave his traditional dwelling place because of a tiger reserve," questioned Vasu. He also said it was unnecessary to increase the core area as the tiger population in the MTR has not increased in recent years. Vasu alleged that the tiger reserve area has been expanded to avail more funds from the centre. "As per Supreme Court order, tourism activities are banned only in the core area, but forest officials prevent tourism activities in the buffer zones too. As per the Tamil Nadu Private Forest Protection act (TNPFP Act) many farmers in the Gudalur area are suffering as they could not cultivate their land or transfer the title deed. The government should intervene and bail out the distressed farmers," Vasu said. According to Diravidamani, Gudalur DMK MLA, the bandh was a total success. The 10 political parties have jointly sent a memorandum in this connection to Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. S Thirumeni, Gudalur DSP said the bandh went on smoothly as no untoward incidents were reported.