PM announces increase in Central aid for tiger conservation

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) Expressing concern over the decline in the number of tigers, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced the Centre would increase assistance for conservaton of the endangered animal and would fully fund modernisation of Tiger Reserve Management.

Chairing a meeting here to review tiger conservation status and the functioning of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the Prime Minister sought a state-specific strategy for giving the central assistance.

The meeting was told that the Prime Minister will convene a Conference of Chief Ministers of States with Tiger Reserves to put in place a coordinated response to the challenge of conservation.

Chief Ministers have been asked to take personal charge of Tiger conservation and forest management.

The Prime Minister said the centre would also fund procurement of modern equipment and recruitment of staff from local population.

The Government had recently approved an enhanced relocation package of up to Rs. 10 lakh per family for families living in Tiger Reserves.

Schemes for rehabilitation of traditional hunters; for supporting new Tiger Reserves; for supporting eco-tourism benefitting local communities; deployment of anti-poaching staff; and, for improving service conditions of forest officers have also been taken up.

Noting that some States have a better record of Tiger conservation than others, the meeting stressed the importance of state governments concerned paying focused attention.

The Prime Minister also noted that recent estimates of Tiger population, arrived at on the basis of a new methodology, cannot be compared with earlier estimates.

The meeting was attended by the Minister of State for Forests R Regupathy, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, senior officials of the Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of Environment and Forests, and Director, National Tiger Conservation Authority.

UNI NAZ KD RK2028

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