Funds for Assam tiger reserves- Delhi releases first instalment, seeks use according to agreement
Guwahati, Sept. 30: The Centre has released the first instalment of conservation funds sanctioned for three tiger reserves in Assam with the rider that they utilise it according to the agreement signed with it and Dispur last year.
The Centre has released Rs 573.08 lakh for the current fiscal, of which Rs 272.72 lakh will go to Kaziranga, Rs 237.50 lakh to Manas and Rs 63.58 lakh to Nameri. The order for the fund release was passed on Tuesday.
The total amount sanctioned under Project Tiger for the three reserves for this fiscal is Rs 903.55 lakh, of which the lion’s share has gone to Kaziranga (Rs 448.15 lakh), followed by Manas (Rs 356.08 lakh) and Nameri (Rs 99.32 lakh).
The release order states that Dispur should make the funds available to the tiger reserves within two weeks of its receipt. It would also require to furnish regularly in its monthly report, both in physical and financial terms, the implementation of work as mentioned in the sanction letter. Dispur will have to submit its performance-cum-achievement report on or before March 31 next year.
The Centre, however, stressed the funds be utilised as per the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the field directors of the three tiger reserves and the state government for implementing tiger conservation initiatives as proposed in the annual plan of preparations, with due compliance with normative guidelines and advisories.
The MoU includes the drawing up of a security plan in accordance with the reserves’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and to ensure intelligence-based protection for tigers and other wild animals as well as the habitat.
Sources said the chief wildlife warden and the principal chief conservator of forests have been asked to conduct field inspections from time to time to ensure that the field work is undertaken in accordance with the management plan and the annual plan of operation.
Manas has been given a deep freezer for preservation of tiger carcass. “As some time would be required for investigation of the death of a tiger by experts, the carcass should be kept in a deep freezer,” a Manas official said.
Kaziranga has been given sanction for procurement of GPS sets, standard type night vision device, solar lighting systems, life jacket and reward to informers and staff, among other things.
Nameri has been sanctioned money for the purchase of a projector for public awareness and meetings.
Manas has been categorised a “poor” tiger reserve by the Centre as it has a low density of the animal. Sources said the estimated number of tigers in Manas is 15-18.
Kaziranga, which recently claimed to have the highest density of tigers in the world, has been categorised as “good” while Nameri has been given “satisfactory” tag.