If you are wondering what Anna Hazare has been doing of late,take a look at the picture above. Anna,who has kept away from government events due to disillusionment,visited Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve Saturday after addressing stakeholders in Maharashtra governments fresh edition of joint forest management programme.
And Anna had a royal tiger sighting in his first ever visit to any tiger reserve. As the tigress walked nonchalantly across the road after coming out of grasses,Anna,waiting in an open Gypsy,couldnt hide the childlike excitement on his face. This is my first tiger sighting in the wild. I had seen tiger only in zoo, Anna said. I would love to see it again in the wild.
Principal Secretary,Forest,Pravin Pardeshi accompanied Anna on the safari. Besides tiger,Anna had sightings of wild boar,bison,cheetals,sambhars and barking deer.
When told the TATR landscape also witnesses an intense man-animal conflict with humans falling prey to tiger and leopard attacks,Anna said,Their space is shrinking and so is their food. So,this is bound to happen.
About man surviving at the cost of animals,he said,Animals have same soul as we have. They are as much part of God as we are. Thats why saints have said be kind to animals.
If that was a simple logic of a social worker,at the JFM workshop,Anna spoke out of first-hand experience in managing natural resources around his Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmednagar district.
I have stayed away from all other government programmes but this one is about grassroots democracy and,hence,I have agreed to guide the stakeholders, he said. JFM committees are not for fulfilling power ambitions but for saving the community and environment, he added.
Maharashtra has relaunched a languishing JFM programme to cover all areas besides those covered by Panchayat Raj Extension to Scheduled Areas Act and the community forest rights provision of the Forest Rights Act with additional and pro-people features such as 50 per cent revenue sharing with villages even in timber. The other proviside only for non-timber minor forest produce.
Environment protection deserves urgent attention. Parties hold chintan shibirs to mull how to return to power,not for such things. Joint forest management is a must to stop exploitation of natural resources. No developmental work should be undertaken without the permission of the gram sabha, he said.
Later talking to reporters about his anti-corruption stir,Anna said,I will be touring the country to build the movement from village level over the next 18 months.
On Arvind Kejriwals move to launch a party,Anna said,he made haste. Asked if he was used by people like Kejriwal,he said,I dont think so. He is coming to meet me at Ralegan Siddhi soon.