RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh has ignored two requests to notify the Bhoramdev wildlife sanctuary— a tiger corridor in Kawardha district — as a ‘Tiger Reserve’.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) first wrote to Chhattisgarh Chief Wild Life Warden in 2014, and later in 2018, to send a self-contained proposal to the tiger authority to declare the sanctuary as a reserve in accordance with the Wild Life Protection Act 1972.
Tiger movement is regularly seen in Bhoramdev as it’s a key buffer zone of the Kanha National Park. The Chhattisgarh State Wild Life Board in its meeting had approved a resolution to shift 13 affected villages from the core area to the buffer zone and had sent the amended proposal to NTCA on constituting Bhoramdev Tiger Reserve. The state forest department, however, cancelled the proposal. Unconfirmed reports cited political pressure by the earlier state government for the non-implementation of the recommendation.
“Because of the negligent attitude of the state government, I moved a PIL in the high court to declare Bhoramdev as a tiger reserve. The court has given the government three weeks to respond,” said wildlife enthusiast Nitin Singhvi. He said Bhoramdev is part of an important corridor that connects the three states and the NTCA recommendation has far-reaching implications in maintaining tiger gene flow.
Assistant Inspector General of Forest, NTCA, Kamdi Hemant Bhaskar underlining the importance of the corridor in his affidavit said that during the All India Tiger Estimation 2010, the importance of Bhoramdev was highlighted.
The state despite knowing of the provisions of the given Act preferred to implement other provisions of section 38 V, without implementing the recommendation of NTCA.
The principal chief conservator of forest (Wildlife) Rakesh Chaturvedi said that the state is closely examining the issue and the 13 gram sabhas are yet to be consulted.
However, officials agreed, that such process of consultation with the gram sabhas comes only after notification is issued. Besides, the NTCA is empowered to declare any area as a tiger reserve.
What Section 38V (1) of Wild Life Act says
Under section 38V (1) of the Wild Life Protection Act 1972, “The state government shall on the recommendation of the tiger conservation authority, notify an area as Tiger Reserve”. So it becomes mandatory for the state to accept the recommendation