Impression of Project Tiger to save magnificent animal is a challenge: Ramesh

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New Delhi, Aug 6 (ANI): Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on Friday said one of the major challenges over the last one-year has been to change the impression of Project Tiger as a project to save a magnificent animal.

Delivering a keynote on 'The Future of Bengal Tiger' during a symposium here, Ramesh said: "One of the big challenges in the last one year has been to somehow change this impression of Project Tiger as a project to save a magnificent animal, not so much to say about the magnificent animal as much as it is to save an entire eco-system."

"Six percent of our forest area is in the 39 Project Tiger reserves, and if the tiger becomes extinct you can be rest assured that these forests will become extinct. One of the things that I have been advocating and propagating is that the tiger is but as symbol of an eco-system, and it is symbol of a threatened forest eco-system," he added.

Ramesh said the Ministry of Environment and Forests is not in favour of giving the forestlands to the private sector.

"I do not want to open degraded forest lands to the private sector. I am not sure what the consequences are going to be and also the fact is that the private sector wants plantations, whereas we are talking of forests and there is a fundamental difference," said Ramesh.

"I am not an expert but to my layman mind, forests denote something else, plantations means something else. And there I am very, very hesitant," he added.

Ramesh further said the green initiative is not at all possible if degreening is not stopped.

"The most successful green initiative that we can take as country is to stop degreening. There is no point talking on greening, if you are going to have rampant degreening of the type that we are having in our country and it is rampant," said Ramesh.

"It is rampant not out of malafide intentions, it's rampant because the political span of Chief Minister or a Minister is very short," he added. (ANI)

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