Cabinet gives nod to cheetahs, more funds for Project Tiger

New Delhi, Aug 11: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) Thursday approved re-introduction of cheetahs in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and hike in Project Tiger estimates from Rs.650 crore to Rs.1,216.86 crore due to rise in cost of relocation of villages from tribal habitats.

The CCEA also approved increased compensation in case of loss of human life in man-animal conflict.

According to a government release, increase in cost of Project Tiger has been necessitated due to ‘increased action for relocation of villages from the notified core/critical tiger habitats as also inclusion of additional components’.

It said there will be a change in the funding pattern in respect of northeastern states by increasing the central share from the existing 50 percent to 90 percent for recurring expenditure.

The release said compensation for man-animal conflict has been raised to Rs.2 lakh in case of loss of human life.

Another component of Project Tiger approved by the CCEA is re-introduction of cheetahs in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Re-introduction of cheetahs in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan would benefit all the 40 tiger reserves falling in 17 tiger states, the statement said.

‘Re-introduction of cheetahs in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan under the scheme at a cost of Rs.50 crore after ensuring the historical co-existence of cheetahs with other carnivores, especially the tiger, would benefit all the 40 tiger reserves falling in 17 tiger states, besides the people living in the fringe areas (buffer), as well as communities opting for voluntary relocation from the core/critical tiger habitats,’ it added.

The tiger population in the country has registered an increase from 1,411 in 2006 to 1,706 in 2010.

India has the maximum number of wild tigers and tiger habitats in the world conserved due to Project Tiger.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) provides a statutory basis to Project Tiger and has an overarching role as provided in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Project Tiger was launched by the government in 1973 in nine reserves of Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal over an area of approximately 14,000 sq. km.

IANS