Help in the rehabilitation of these unrecognized people(guides/watchers) in various jobs, like pulling them into tiger protection force or anti-poaching squads, if Top court of India upholds its current view.
We are fully in agreement for the ban of tourism in tiger reserve areas permanently or till a proper guidelines are formed & responsible tourism is made the way forward. Keeping in cognizance the view of the SC before final verdict, many of the main 40+ tiger reserves in India has banned the tourism with immediate effect. We are not defending the irresponsible tourism, but what about the tigers. How will the tigers survive alone?? when none can know their status with this ban. It can only deplete more tigers and increase poaching with active support of tribal's(when they will have no livelihoods).
Atleast tourism allows for ample outside scrutiny of the forest and thus aids tiger preservation. Tourism brings in its wake assessment by lodge owners, guides/watchers, photographers and other stake-holders whose survival depends on robust tiger numbers.
How do we define wildlife activist, conservationist and tourists etc..? There is a huge difference. We might be wildlife activists, conservationist, etc.. in the end we all are treated as tourists in any reserve. Hence none can know what is happening inside these reserves.
Quoting a Senior journalist, "For a start, it gives way too much power to the forest department. The ban will mean only one agency will both implement the tiger protection agenda, and audit that process."
This view of Supreme Court goes against the very mission statement of NTCA/Project Tiger. To quote their mission statement: “The main objective of Project Tiger is to ensure a viable population of tiger in India for scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural and ecological values and to preserve for all time, areas of biological importance as a natural heritage for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people."
With this ban on tourism, How can someone expect the DFO(divisional forest officer) of a particular tiger reserve to pay the salaries of the temporary employees, such as guides/watchers??? We would like to bring to your attention that guides/watchers in all the tiger reserves in India are Scheduled Tribes, In actuality they are known to be the eyes and ears of a jungle/Forest Depts across and also its informers. If SC upholds the temp views!!! How will the MoEF help these guides/watchers(temporary employees)??? Can MoEF bring a Guideline/legislation and also rehabilitation package/rehabilitate them? Like forming anti-poaching squads and taking these people in with direct recruitment, without employment vacancy rules (of various states & other complications)?? It is estimated there are around Approx 10,000-20,000 Watchers/guides(dependents included) working for different tiger reserves in India. It is their only source of income. Please understand they have stood with these endangered species for many decades, It would not take them even few days or weeks to end the entire tiger population or remove tiger reserve tag, if at all they stood with the poachers. They have stood for conservation and in the end this view of SC, is like rubbing salt on their wounds for all their good deeds.
We cannot have bureaucrats in offices decide the polices, Each parties decision should be implemented(after proper understanding) in the guideline before framing it. But as it is already known final guidelines of NTCA is already submitted this week to supreme court. We would like you to ask for more time from the Supreme court, rethink on the NTCA guidelines and also take views of all parties affected because of this and in the end THINK how it will help our national animal and also its true protectors.