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‘Don't rush into making Mhadei a tiger reserve'

Special Correspondent

Planning panel member writes to Digambar Kamat


Establishment of tiger reserve should not be a priority item for Goa

Nandakumar Kamat demands consultations with stakeholders


PANAJI: Nandakumar Kamat, member of Goa State Planning Board and Member of Goa State Wildlife Advisory Board, on Wednesday wrote to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat advising “precautionary approach” before any decision to declare a tiger reserve in Mhadei (Mahadayi) Wildlife Sanctuary in north Goa.

Mr. Kamat, a researcher from Goa University, was responding to the issue raised by Union Environment Minister for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh through his recommendatory letter to the State Government recently. “The government should not view establishment of tiger reserve as a priority item as compared to hundreds of other species where Goa needs to focus first. No hurried decision need be taken on the proposal sent by Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF),” Mr. Kamat said in his letter, a copy of which has been sent to Chairman of Wildlife Advisory Board.

Among the issues raised by the researcher, he has suggested stakeholder consultations and local people's participation.

Mr. Kamat said: “In principle we need to protect all the species of endangered animals including tigers.”

Goa, he said, had some success in turtle conservation. But a lot remains to be done regarding a halt to mining and quarrying in forest areas, poaching, soil erosion, illegal tree felling, bio piracy, pollution, lack of rules to regulate ecotourism, control of invasive species, and so on. “Even green belts in and around urban and suburban areas are rapidly disappearing. With them there is incalculable biodiversity loss.

The Forest Department is found wanting in stringent enforcement of the laws of the land. It is tragic and shameful state of affairs in the International year of the forests, 2011,” Mr. Kamat said.

He advised caution and a comprehensive discussion and debate before taking a decision on a ‘Tiger Reserve'.

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