Home >Politics >News >Focus on tiger conservation may hurt other projects

New Delhi: The increased focus on tiger conservation in the country, it seems, may not augur well for other endangered species or even national parks. A large chunk of the meagre Rs150 crore increase in allocation, proposed by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) in 2008-09, may be spent on tiger conservation alone.

While the government had on 30 January approved an outlay of Rs120 crore per year in the 11th Plan, which would be spread across the 30 tiger parks in India, just about Rs80 crore is likely to be allocated to the 600-odd national parks and sanctuaries, a ministry official, who did not wish to be identified, said.

“As it is, existing levels of investment in protected areas is severely inadequate ," said a wildlife biologist who did not wish to be identified.

Among states, the allocation for sanctuaries in the North-East could be reduced from Rs7.5 crore to Rs7 crore, while Madhya Pradesh is likely to see a cut in its allocation from Rs7.76 crore last year to Rs6 crore. However, Karnataka, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu are set for higher allocations, the official said. The total allocation for MoEF may be raised from Rs1,351 crore to Rs1,500 crore.

But conservationists say that, with the proposed allocation, some wildlife schemes may have to be disbanded.

-Padmaparna Ghosh

Office of profit: next hearing on 4 March

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday concluded hearing the arguments made by petitioners challenging the amendment to the law on members of Parliament holding offices of profit and fixed 4 March as the date for the Union government to present its arguments.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan on Tuesday began hearing the arguments on petitions filed by a not-for profit group Consumer Education and Research Society and a Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi .

The two petitions challenge the constitutional validity of the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Act, 2006, and claim that it was passed to exempt 55 sitting members of Parliament from disqualification as they were simultaneously holding offices of profit.

-Staff Writer

‘Sethu project can be operational by Nov’

New Delhi: The Sethusamudram project, which envisages dredging the coral walkway between India and Sri Lanka to reduce sailing time for ships, could become operational by November this year depending on clearance by the Supreme Court, Union minister for shipping, road transport and highways T. R. Baalu told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

He said the government had constituted a committee of eminent persons on 5 October 2007 with the terms of reference to invite suggestions and objections, if any, from all concerned in the project. The committee had submitted its report to the government on 29 November.

The project was approved by the government in May 2005. However, following a Supreme Court order on 14 September 2007, dredging work had been suspended.

The committee was formed pursuant to the submissions made before the Supreme Court by the government counsel on 14 September 2007, in respect of certain transferred cases and writ petitions relating to the project.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had on Tuesday finalized a draft affidavit on the controversial issue aimed at addressing the concerns of its key constituent DMK without hurting Hindu sentiments.


Centre mulls policy for airport infrastructure

Kolkata: Construction of airports in India could soon become simpler and less time-consuming.

"We will notify a new policy for easy development of airport infrastructure not later than March-April," said civil aviation minister Praful Patel on Wednesday.

Patel was in the city for the signing of a technical services agreement between Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL) and Singapore’s Changi Airports International (CAI).

BAPL is setting up an Aerotropolis—a complete township revolving around an airport, in the Asansol-Durgapur region of the state’s Burdwan district.

The airport, which would be the first privately-owned one in the country, would be surrounded by an industrial park, an information technology (IT) park, a logistics hub, hospitals and residential homes.

-Rajdeep Datta Roy

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