GUWAHATI, April 17 � Perhaps the State Government is presenting a wrong picture concerning the release of Central funds for the National Parks and Tiger Reserves of the State. The April 8, 2015 reply of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in response to RTI queries made by RTI-cum-environment activist Rohit Choudhury on March 11, 2015, reveal that the State Government�s assertions on sanction and release of Central funds for the National Parks and Tiger Reserves of the State are not based on facts.
The NTCA said in its reply that in the 2009-�10 fiscal, it had released an amount of Rs 1,65,00,000.00 for the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) and Tiger Reserve. During the following financial year, it released three amounts of Rs 2,72,72,000.00 (on September 30, 2010), Rs 55,56,000.00 (on December 9, 2010) and Rs 7,22,10,000.00 (on December 31, 2010) for this National Park.
In 2011-�12 fiscal, the NTCA released an amount of Rs 4,26,91,680.00 for the KNP. In 2012-�13, it released an amount of Rs 2,50,28,600.00, in 2013-�14, it released an amount of Rs 7,08,90,600.00 and in 2014-�15, it released funds for the KNP in three instalments with the first instalment of Rs 2,39,17,000.00 released on June 18, 2014, the second instalment of Rs 43,76,600.00 released on February 25, 2015 and the third instalment of Rs 4,57,80,000.00 released on March 13, 2015.
However, the State Government is defaulting in releasing the Central funds to the National Park, which is facing serious threats from the poachers.
The NTCA, an authority under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, wrote to the Chief Secretary of the State on March 19, 2015 on the issue of release of funds under the Centrally-sponsored scheme of Project Tiger to Manas and Kaziranga Tiger Reserves. The letter, signed by the Additional Director General (Project Tiger) and Member Secretary (NTCA) Bishan Singh Bonal, said, �It has come to the notice of this authority that funds under the aforesaid scheme have not been released by the State Government to the field authorities of the Manas and Kaziranga Tiger Reserves till date, even when the financial year 2014-15 is at its fag end.�
The letter said that an amount of Rs 239.17 lakh was released to the State through the Reserve Bank of India, Nagpur for Kaziranga on June 18, 2014 and it was released to the KNP by the State Government on December 17, 2014, that is, after six months.
The State Government had not released the amounts of Rs 437.686 lakh the Central fund released on February 25, 2015 for the KNP, the additional amount of Rs 457.8 lakh of the Central fund released for it on March 13, 2014 and an ex-gratia amount of the Central fund of Rs 2 lakh released for it on November 19, 2014 to the Park till March 19, 2015.
Moreover, the NTCA funds of Rs 140 lakh released for Manas Tiger Reserve on July 23, 2014 and another amount of Rs 188.199 lakh released for the same Tiger Reserve on February 18, 2015 were also not released by the State Government to the Tiger Reserve till March 19, 2015, said the NTCA official in his above letter.
The NTCA official also told the Chief Secretary of the State, �As you are aware that Project Tiger is a holistic scheme with an aim of conserving the flagship species �tiger� and other wildlife and forests. Needless to say that in the absence of funds, tiger conservation along with the gamut of flora and fauna under its aegis is bound to be severely jeopardised.
�Your personal intervention is therefore solicited in the matter for expediting release of funds to the above tiger reserves,� said the NTCA official.