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Jairam seeks more funds for tiger conservation


New Delhi : Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh Monday sought more funds for tiger conservation and said huge money is needed for relocation of people living in core areas of the country’s 39 tiger reserves.

Releasing the Tiger Estimate 2010 here, which showed a rise in the big cat’s numbers, Ramesh asked Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who was also present, to increase the budgetary allocation for tiger conservation.

“We have to relocate 50,000 families from core areas of 39 tiger reserves but as of now only 3,000 such families have been shifted. We need more funds to carry out the relocation process,” he said.

The environment ministry gives Rs.10 lakh as compensation per family to those living in the core zones of tiger reserves.

Ramesh also emphasised the need to balance development and environment.

“Many tiger reserves are under threat from coal mining, hydel power projects, irrigation projects. There is a need for nine percent economic growth and there is no dispute in that, but we have to reconcile growth with environment,” Ramesh said.

“Choices have to be made on whether we can afford nine percent growth and end our forest cover. We have to find a way of balancing imperative high growth with imperative preserving of the ecosystem,” said Ramesh.

Talking on the same lines, Montek Singh Ahluwalia said: “I don’t know why I am being seen as the biggest threat to environment. There is a need to balance development and environment.”

The census recorded an increase in tiger figures to 1,706 in 2010, compared to 1,411 in 2006.