Centre protests transfers of tiger reserve officer by MP,Uttarakhand

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New Delhi, Jul 30 (UNI) The Ministry of Environment and Forests has taken strong note of the transfer of field directors of important tiger reserves by the Madhya Pradesh and the Uttarakhand governments without the Centre's approval, and that too at a time which is the breeding season for the big cat and its prey animals.

''The change of guard at this crucial stage would only disturb the administration of forests inhabited by tigers,'' a Ministry official told UNI.

The Madhya Pradesh Government last week transferred 47 forest officers including the Field directors of the world famous tiger reserves of Panna, Kanha and Satpura and Sewni.

Moreover, director of the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand has also been shifted.

The posting of field directors of the tiger reserves is done in consultation with the Centre, but the state government has transferred them without caring to do so, which has been severly objected to by the Ministry.

The Ministry has already sent a note of protest to the Uttarakhand government and it would be calling the Madhya Pradesh government for explanation soon, the official said.

''The monsoon season is the breeding season for tigers and its prey animals, and special grant is provided for this period. The large scale transfers at this stage would only disturb the administration of the forests,'' he said.

Moreover, in the monsoon season, the tiger reserves are free of visitors, and the place is usually deserted, which makes it easy for poachers to do their job, so at this time the large scale transfers would make the situation worse, as the change of guard would naturally result in slackness and loss of accountablity for a brief period, said the official.

''In fact the transfers have been done mindlessly without least regard to the conditions conducive to the conservation of the endangered big cat. The Ministry was really taken by surprise by the reshuffle, and it would take all necessary action to set things right,'' he said.

The tiger task force created by the Prime Minister following the discovery of the loss of tiger in the Sariska Tiger Reserves had found many shortcomings in the administration of tiger reserves, and various studies and experts have been pointing to the low priority being given by state authorities to conservation of wildlife and the environment in general due to various reasons.

According to the latest census only around 1500 tigers have been left in the country, and the loss has been ascribed mainly to poaching and the encroachment on their habitat.

Poaching has mainly thrived because of lack of strict implementation of tiger protection measures.

The Ministry feels that transfers by the two state governments at this statge was a very unwise step and would greatly disturb the protection measures.

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