Apathy of the forest department, meeting of statutory committees not held even once in 12 years.
Raipur. On 25 October, new provisions were added in the Wildlife (Protection) Act 2006 to protect tigers, under which three types of statutory committees have to be constituted at different levels to protect tigers and other wildlife. Today the High Court of Chhattisgarh; while hearing the PIL filed, the Hon’ble Chief Justice and Justice Sanjay K. Agrawal’s bench issued notices to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, Secretary Forest, Government of Chhattisgarh, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Aranya Bhavan Chhattisgarh and NTCA, seeking their reply in eight weeks. On behalf of petitioner Raipur resident Nitin Singhvi, the court was told that the number of tigers is decreasing continuously in Chhattisgarh. There were 46 tigers in the year 2014; 19 were left in the year 2018.
Steering Committee or Steering Committee
The notification to form this 14-member committee headed by the Chief Minister was issued in May 2008. The work of this committee is to ensure coordination, monitoring, protection for tiger conservation, co-predator and hunted wildlife. But to date, no meeting of this committee has been conducted by the Forest Department.
Governing Body or Governing Body of Tiger Conservation Foundation
Notification of Udanti Sitanadi Tiger Conservation Foundation and Achanakmar Tiger Conservation Foundation as Public Trust in Chhattisgarh was issued in the year 2010. Notification of Indravati Tiger Conservation Foundation was issued in 2012. The function of this committee is to give overall policy guidance and direction. The Forest Minister heads this 10-member governing body. To date, no meeting has been held for the foundation of the three Tiger Reserves.
Daily Management and Administration Committee
These committees were constituted under Public Trust for all three Tiger Reserves in 2010 for Udanti Sita River and Achanakmar Tiger Reserve and in 2012 for Indravati Tiger Reserve. To date, no meeting of this committee has been held in Udanti Sita River Tiger Reserve. The first and last meeting in Indravati Tiger Reserve was held in 2016, and the first and last meeting in Achanakmar was held in 2019.
A rapid response team does not exist.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority had issued guidelines in the year 2013. Under which the Rapid Response Team was to be formed, then all forest divisions were issued budgets and orders were given to buy anaesthesia guns, medicines etc. But there is no Rapid Response Team in Achanakmar Tiger Reserve and Udanti Sitanadi Tiger Reserve.