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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Protect tribals, tigers: Tripura Minister

Press Trust of India / Ranchi November 07, 2012, 22:05 Tripura Forest Minister Jiten Choudhary today advocated protection of tribals and tigers as "both are endangered." "Tigers should be protected, and tribals too. Because both are endangered in the country," Choudhary told reporters here. Expressing concern over the proposed expansion of tiger reserve areas to protect the big cats, he claimed the proposal would cover tribal inhabited areas in the buffer zone. Choudhary, who also holds the rural development portfolio, said tribals in those areas faced the threat of eviction without any proper plan and compensation package. "Tribals are not enemies of any flora or fauna. They are the ones who have been protecting tigers," he said, adding in the name of protection of tigers the livelihood of tribals should not be affected. Choudhary, who was here to participate in a two-day meet of the Adivasi Adhikar Rastriya Manch, claimed only 30 per cent of tribals got benefits under the Scheduled Tribe and Other Tradition Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. Suggesting that the Centre should fix a minimum support price for minor forest produce to develop the economy of tribals across the country, he said, "Middlemen are exploiting those tribals whose livelihood is dependent on minor forest produce...There are 500 medicinal plants in the North East, which need development."