ITANAGAR, Sep 11: The Pakke Tiger Reserve is one of the 13 tiger reserves that have been selected for the constitution of the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF). However, the lack of timely action may well result in the loss of 112 permanent jobs for protection of the state’s flora and fauna as the National Centre Tiger Conservation Authority has written to the Principal Secretary of Forests, forwarding the 58th report of the 116th Lok Sabha of the Committee on Government Assurances and has asked for immediate action and assurances from the state.
The Special Tiger Protection Force is critical for the long-term protection of Pakke Tiger Reserve and the job security of youth from Seijosa, Tippi and Kessang area who have put their lives on the line working as contingency staff for years together.
It may be recalled that back in 2008, Rs 50 crores was sanctioned for the constitution of the 13 tiger reserves from all across India.
Further, 100 percent of central assistance was to be provided to states under the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger. STPF Pakke had made it to the list of 50 tiger reserves that have been declared from all across India.
However, if recruitment does not commence, this initiative might well be on the way to going to other reserves that will be very willing to accept the centre’s assistance towards constitution of this force.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu had gone on record in May 2017, saying that he voiced full support for the constitution of the Special Tiger Protection Force and expediting this process immediately.
However, the state has not moved on to start recruitment of these posts. The Parliamentary Action Committee has also asked to be apprised of the initiatives taken and the progress made in the matter as Pakke has not constituted this force.
Further, Special Tiger Protection Forces are fully functional in seven tiger reserves, namely Bandipur (Karnataka), Pench and Tadoba-Andhari (Maharashtra) and Simlipal (Odisha), and have already begun with 100 percent central assistance under the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger.
Besides these four tiger reserves, in-principle approval has been already given to Melghat and Nawagoan-Nagzira in Maharashtra and Amrabad and Kawal in Telangana.
If timely administrative action is not taken, the youth and staff living around Pakke may lose an opportunity that will ensure their wellbeing and protect Pakke for many generations to come.