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Wildlife Protection Act to get more teeth,says PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said that the government would bring in amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said that the government would bring in amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act,1972 to make it stringent and increase its penal provisions for wildlife crimes as well as introduce roles for the gram sabhas and the panchayats in the declaration and management of protected areas.

“We hope to approve these amendments soon and introduce a Bill in Parliament,” the PM said at the sixth meeting of the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL).

Singh said a proposal for expanding the number of regional offices,field units and forensic labs of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is under process as is the creation of a national database on wildlife crime and criminals.

“I would advise that the Ministry of Environment should strengthen its regional offices by inducting wildlife experts in these offices not only to monitor the implementation of wildlife schemes,but also to ensure strict adherence to conditions of wildlife clearances,” he said.

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Contentious issues like eco-tourism in protected areas,especially tiger reserves,could not be discussed because they were sub-judice,sources said.

Sources said Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan told the meeting that the NBWL was not a “clearing house’’ and that during her tenure,there had been three meetings of its standing committee in which out of 14 projects considered,only three were private projects. And that she deliberately postponed a fourth meeting only to give the members more time to read the proposals before taking a decision.

The sources said some of the NBWL members had the contention that around 40 projects were cleared at a meeting that did not happen during the present minister’s tenure.

First published on: 06-09-2012 at 12:35:46 am
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