Sunderbans (West Bengal), Jan 13(ANI): Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said that India will spend around Rs 200 crore over the next five years for the development of Sundarbans biosphere in West Bengal.
Sunderbans is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a home to more than 400 Royal Bengal Tigers.
During his maiden visit to the world's largest delta, Ramesh said that the Centre will infuse Rs 200 crore for integrated coastal zone management from World Bank by June end.
The grant will be used for plantation, wildlife protection and anti-trafficking activities under the Project Tiger scheme of the federal government.
Ramesh also informed that the government has plans for the locals residing in the adjacent areas to reduce their dependence on forests.
"We will spend Rs 200 crore on the conservation of Sunderbans...we also have plans for locals residing in adjacent areas, we will have to do something for them we will provide assistance for rain water harvesting and employment security of locals," Ramesh said.
"We will join hands with the provincial government for the development of Sunderbans Eco-system. We will provide every possible support to the provincial government, whatever the government demanded we will provide," he added.
Project Tiger, a Union Government scheme has been under implementation since 1973.
The main objective of the project is to ensure a viable tiger population in India for scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural and ecological values and to preserve for all time, areas of biological importance as a natural heritage for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people.
Initially, the Project started with nine tiger reserves, covering an area of 16,339 square kilometers, with a population of 268 tigers. At present there are 27 tiger reserves covering an area of 37761 square kilometers with a population of 1498 tigers. (ANI)