NTCA in Nagpur soon
Dr Rajesh Gopal, member-secretary of the NTCA, confirmed that plans were afoot to start a regional office at Nagpur for better co-ordination with tiger states Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. "Nagpur is known as the tiger gateway and hence our choice. The office may be set up during the current year," Dr Gopal stressed. It will be handled by an officer of conservator of forests rank.
Setting up of regional office in Nagpur is significant as there are seven tiger reserves nearby. It includes Melghat, Tadoba-Andhari, Pench in Maharashtra, Pench, Kanha and Satpuda in Madhya Pradesh and Indravati in Chhattisgarh. Besides, there are at least 15 sanctuaries in the Satpuda region bearing tigers. These reserves and part of its landscape, as per the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) 2008 status report, has a presence of over 500 tigers or over one third of all animals in the wild.
According to NTCA sources, the regional office would ensure that NTCA guidelines were implemented effectively and there was better cooperation between the tiger states. Currently, it took a lot of time for vital messages and guidelines to reach these states. Besides, the decision-making is slow and ultimately hurts conservation efforts.
Forest officials feel setting up of NTCA office would help streamline release of funds for the tiger-bearing areas. Getting money in time was the biggest problem today. NTCA releases money in September and state government delays it by another three months.
The office at Nagpur would facilitate implementation of normative standards for tiger conservation, providing information on several aspects which include protection, ensuring measures for addressing man-wild animal conflict and fostering preparation of tiger protection and conservation plans by neighbouring states. The NTCA, which functioned from the MoEF till now, has itself got a new building at Bikaner House in Delhi.