Options include adopting poaching camps, funding relocation of tribals and acquiring elephant corridors
The Department of Forests on Friday unveiled its plans to tap into private sector resources to fund specific projects in tiger reserves – ranging from acquiring elephant corridors to supporting the relocation of tribals and adopting anti-poaching camps.
The ‘Support the Tiger’ initiative of the State government encourages companies to channel their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) resources towards a specific list of schemes in tiger reserves. These include chipping in for the relocation of tribal families (at Rs. 10 lakh a family), acquiring land for elephant corridors, adopting anti-poaching camps (Rs. 4 lakh a camp), funding fire-fighting equipment in Bandipur or procuring camera traps for tiger monitoring in Dandeli-Anshi, among other schemes.
While insisting that the department had “no dearth of funds”, Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee said CSR funding in conservation would “help create public participation”.
At a gathering of company representatives and CSR heads, Minister of Forests, Ecology and Environment B. Ramanath Rai said, “The department cannot meet conservation challenges on its own. It needs the support of corporate partners.” Also listed in the ‘draft charter of desirables’ chalked up in the ‘Support the Tiger’ initiative are: construction of staff quarters in Nagarahole (Rs. 1 crore over eight months), and maintaining safari roads in Bandipur (Rs. 2 crore lakh for four months).
At a press conference later, G.V. Sugur, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, said he hoped to rope in private companies to help protect the several reserved forests around Bangalore. “We have several forest patches around the city including in Turahalli, Devanahalli and Kalkere, which need to be protected from development. Companies could help by sponsoring compound walls around them or developing them into picnic spots for tourists.”