After generating heat across the country, tiger conservation has kicked off a turf war. The environment and forest ministry has given an outright thumbs down to a proposal for Indo-US cooperation for Bengal tiger conservation which would commit the US to funnel huge sums to the cause in return of a say in the project.
NEW DELHI After generating heat across the country, tiger conservation has kicked off a turf war. The environment and forest ministry has given an outright thumbs down to a proposal for Indo-US cooperation for Bengal tiger conservation which would commit the US to funnel huge sums to the cause in return of a say in the project.
The US had termed its interest in the Indian cause as old, having spent $15 million spent over 25 years.
Packing punch in its dissenting note to the proposal by the external affairs ministry, the environment and forest ministry (MoEF) debunked the US claim of being engaged for over two decades in private efforts towards saving the tiger in India.
MoEF stated that as the nodal body for all efforts in the direction, it was not aware of any US government or private sector contribution towards the cause in the past nor were any complementary initiatives readily discernible.
The new-found ministerial belligerence comes in response to a proposal for bilateral agreement which would commit the US to funnel $324,000 annually towards joint cooperation in tiger conservation.
At the heart of MoEF's power-packed jolt to the proposed bilateral Indo-US arrangement could be concerns as trivial as a turf battle and as sensitive as the need for country-specific priorities for ensuring "people-tiger co-existence". The feeling, sources said, is that foreign money comes with strict dictates on policy implementation and could interfere with the local agenda.
Documents with TOI show that in a rush-job, the MEA on July 12 forwarded a US Department of State's 'factsheet' to the MoEF for comments. Expressing concern over the "sharp decline"in the Bengal tiger population, the factsheet said the numbers had come down from 3,500 in 2001 to 1,200-1,500.
The agreement, it was said, would boost the Prime Minister's initiative in establishing a Tiger Task Force and an inter-ministerial bureau for wildlife crime prevention.
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Source: Knight Ridderr/Tribune Business News