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Rs 600 cr allocated for `Project Tiger`

New Delhi, Jan 30: The Centre on Wednesday allocated Rs 600 cr for the "Project Tiger" scheme under the 11th plan for the conservation and rehabilitation of the endangered specie. 

The major portion of the money, Rs 500 cr, will be spent for the rehabilitation and relocation of the villagers residing in the tiger reserves.  "The major portion of fund, i. e. 

Rs 500 cr, would be spent for relocation and rehabilitation of people living in core or critical tiger habitat and implement safeguard and retrofitting measures in the interest of wildlife conservation," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said after a Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

Presently families in the 273 villages staying in core or critical areas in 28 tiger reserves in 17 states need to be relocated with each affected family proposed to get Rs 10 lakhs as demanded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority. The Finance Minister said the scheme would also rehabilitate and resettle denotified tribes involved in traditional hunting and mainstreaming livelihood and wildlife concerns in forests outside tiger reserves. "About Rs 32 cr would be spent on establishing eight new tiger reserves in states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Assam," Chidambaram said, adding that corridor conservation through restorative strategy to arrest fragmentation of habitats would also be ensured.

A part of the outlay would go toward ensuring allowance to ministerial staff working in tiger reserves as well as to promote eco-tourism. Rajesh Gopal, head of NTCA hailed the increase in sanctioned money and described the as a "milestone" which, he said, would go a long way in saving the endangered species."The move highlights the need for conserving the tigers in our forests. From Rs 150 cr in Xth plan, the government has appropriately enhanced it to Rs 600 cr to ensure inviolate space for the endangered species," he said. However, the wildlife activist Ashok Singh of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) felt there was a need for an effective mechanism even as fund has enhanced. "What is the mechanism to ensure that the money reaches for the tigers' conservation? In many cases in the past, we have found that once fund reaches the states, it does not move from there," Singh said.

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