The Union Cabinet today approved the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to amend the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, to protect and save the endangered tiger by constituting the National Tiger Conservation Authority which will implement the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force.According to this Bill, Project Tiger, now a directorate under the Environment Ministry, will get statutory status and its directive will have Constitutional authority.
“The National Tiger Conservation Authority, when in place, will guide the Project Tiger directorate. This committee will be chaired by the Minister of Environment and Forest and the Project Tiger director will be the member secretary,” Prodipto Ghosh, Secretary, Environment Ministry, told The Indian Express.
Eight experts and professionals with experience in wildlife conservation and social welfare, including tribal welfare, and three members of the Parliament will be the other members of the proposed panel. Two of these MPs will be selected by the Lok Sabha and the other by the Rajya Sabha. The proposed authority will submit annual reports to Parliament.
According to the proposed Bill, tiger states will have to constitute their own steering committees for tiger protection under the chairmanship of respective Chief Ministers.
“We wanted a statutory authority. It’s a welcome first step. We need less emotion and a more practical approach towards saving the tiger,” Sunita Narain, head of Tiger task Force, said.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court today expressed grave concern regarding the development at both Ranthambhore and Panna National Parks, particularly after extinction of tigers in the Sariska Tiger Reserve.
On a submission by amicus curie Harish Salve, a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests to respond before January 6 on why armed commandos should not be posted to places like Ranthambhore and Panna National Parks to protect the tiger from poachers.
The bench also asked the ministry why a CBI Special Investigation Team investigate poaching and the web of links of illegal wildlife trade in the two National Parks. These suggestions were made in his submission by Salve.