Out of the total 39 tiger reserves in the country, 13 are in Vidarbha alone. After the recent increase in the number of tigers across the country (From 1,411 to 1,706), the central government has decided to promote Nagpur as the tiger capital or “tiger getaway” of India.
Union minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh made this announcement on Friday in a press conference. He applauded the state government for its efforts in tiger conservation. “Maharashtra has done exceptionally well in the growth of tigers- which has prompted us to promote Nagpur, which is the central most city of the country,” informed the minister.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said that he was optimistic about increasing the numbers of the tigers in the state further. “We are taking steps towards increasing the number of tigers in the state. Navegaon, Bhor and Nagzira are soon to be declared as new tiger
reserves in the country. This will take the number of reserves in the state to 16,” said Chavan.
Ramesh said that rehabilitation of the villages which are at present a part of the reserves was equally important. “We have sanctioned Rs50 crore for the shifting of the villages from Melghat and Tadoba tiger reserve. We also want the adivasi community to participate in forest conservation. To facilitate their livelihood, we are planning to declare bamboo as minority forest product. At present the Minority Forest Act of 1926 does not include Bamboo.
However, the amendment is likely to come soon,” said Ramesh.
He further added that the National Reserve Tiger Authority (NRTA) is now going to be decentalised. “The first field office of the authority will also be in Nagpur,” informed Ramesh.