Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav on Saturday flagged off ‘India for Tigers – A Rally on Wheels’ organised by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), marking wildlife week and ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
The one week programme will be carried on in 51 tiger reserves across 18 states that covers a distance of 7,500 km in seven days.
The minister virtually launched Navegaon Nagzira in Maharashtra, Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple (BRT) Tiger Reserve in Karnataka and Sanjay Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh. Designated under The Project Tiger ministry will culminate this grand start in Ranthambore, Kanha, Melghat, Bandipur, Similipal, Sunderbans, Manas, Palamau and Corbett tiger reserves, which represents country’s initial nine tiger reserves.
Yadav while speaking to reporters here today said, “Tiger is not only a charismatic species, its presence is vital for regulating and perpetuating ecological processes. On Gandhi Jayanti flagged off ‘India for Tigers – A rally on wheels’, in which all 51 tiger reserves will be participating at a landscape level.” Emphasizing the role of ground-level staff, the Union Minister said, “Policy intervention is definitely important but the ground level staff such as ‘forest guards’ who stood tall despite the adversities have played an active role and they will always be remembered.”
“We have to connect with the roots. We have to work like a trustee and not owner,” said the minister. Yadav further said, “Although guidelines have been launched by the ministry on single-use of plastic but to increase awareness seminars will be conducted.”
The minister also launched the ‘Wetlands of India’ portal along with the release of guidelines for sustainable eco-tourism in forest and wildlife areas and a field guide for monitoring Ganges and Indus river dolphins, associated aquatic fauna and habitat. Considering the need for a participatory approach for the conservation of wildlife and its habitats, the guidelines emphasize the engagement of local communities in a manner that enriches local economies and encourage sustainable use of indigenous material through financially viable value chains to help local communities become ‘Atma Nirbhar’.
It promotes partnership among stakeholders in the development of ecotourism as well as equitable sharing of benefits with local communities. So far in India, 14 Tiger reserves have been awarded the Global Conservation Assured/Tiger Standards status for impressive tiger conservation.
After tiger hunting was banned in 1970, the conservation of the Tiger project was initiated in 1973 to ensure the maintenance of a viable population of Tigers in India for scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural and ecological values. There are a total of 52 Tiger reserves in India with the latest addition of Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve (RVTR) in the Bundi district of Rajasthan as of 2021.
After a survey in 2018 was conducted on the Tiger census, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) declared that the census (by the tiger reserve) should be completed by December to release the final report on July 29, 2022. The ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ is an intensive countrywide campaign that will focus on citizen’s participation, to be converted into a ‘Janandolan’, where small changes, at the local level, will add up to significant national gains. (ANI)