NTCA Directs to create Tiger Reserve by combining Tamor-Pingla, Guru Ghasidas National Park
By Roshan Chachane :
The High Court of Chhattisgarh has directed Chhattisgarh Government to submit the status report on the Notification issued for the creation of Tiger Reserve by combining the Guru Ghasidas National and Park Tamor- Pingla Sanctuary within two weeks. Representing the plaintiff for Tiger Reserve by Ajay Dubey in the High Court, Advocate Harshvardhan told ‘The Hitavada’ that erstwhile Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) Minister Jairam Ramesh, in 2011, had sent a proposal to the Chhattisgarh Government for creation of the Tiger Reserve by combining the areas of Guru Ghasidas National Park and Tamor-Pingla Sanctuary. The request was made based on a report of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), which had surveyed before drafting the report.
The proposal was readily accepted by the Chhattisgarh Government ruled by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the time. The proposal was approved by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, which had then recommended State Government issue notification for the Tiger Reserve. WII was identified as the most important corridor for the tigers and leopard. Most importantly, the forests of Guru Ghasidas National Park is located in Koriya, the same region where the last Asiatic Cheetah was shot dead and WII is looking forward to reintroduce the fastest terrestrial animal in India and the agency find the jungles extremely conducive to support the Cheetah Population.
Advocate Harshwardhan further reiterated the need for the creation of tiger reserve, citing the dismal performance of Chhattisgarh in tiger conservation as mentioned in the Tiger Status Report 2018. Notably, the tiger population in Chhattisgarh saw a steep decline from 45 to 19, a worrying downfall of 24 tigers between 2014 and 2018. It’s a vast swath of forests starting from Palamu Tiger Reserve of Jharkhand, Tamor-Pingla/Guru Ghasidas National Park of Chhattisgarh up to Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve of Madhya Pradesh. With 1130 square kilometres of Palamu Tiger Reserve, a combined 2301 square kilometres of Guru Ghasidas National Park and 1675 square kilometres of Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve will create a large undisturbed habitat for the tigers, leopard and Cheetah population.
One of India’s leading environmental journalist, Prerna Singh Bindra in her book named “The Vanishing-India’s wildlife crisis”, had written “The Year India gained Independence, 1947, saw the extinction of Asiatic Cheetah. The last record is of three male-brothers-shot in Koriya in present-day Chhattisgarh, incidentally by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo, infamous for shooting over 1100 tigers!” Chhattisgarh can once again and probably be the first to become a habitat for the Cheetah population outside Africa if the Chhattisgarh Government issues the notification without any delay