Wildlife Protection Act: Cabinet says consult gram sabha on land
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Village councils will have to be consulted before declaring any area as a wildlife park or a sanctuary.
The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 which makes consultations with gram sabhas (village councils) mandatory before a scheduled area is declared as a sanctuary.
Briefing reporters on the cabinet decisions, Finance Minister P Chidambaram described the amendments as a "progressive" step which would ensure better protection of wildlife.
"The amendments propose to define gram sabha, panchayat and scheduled area, provide for consultations with the gram sabha whenever an area is to be declared as a sanctuary," Chidambaram said.
He said consultations with the gram sabhas has been made mandatory.
The amendments also propose to make a representative of the local tribal community part of the management committee of a reserve, which could be tiger reserves, national parks or sanctuaries.
These suggestions were made by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Chidambaram said.
The amendments also seeks to bring the Wildlife Protection Act in conformity with the Convention on International Trade in Endagered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
CITES is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
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