News Karnataka
Thursday, October 06 2022

Govt dilly-dallying to declare MMWLS as tiger reserve

 Male Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary tigers
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Chamarajanagara: Male Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary (MMWLS) could have been declared a Male Mahadeshwara tiger reserve if everything went as per the proposal of the forest department. But the elected representatives obstructed conversion as a tiger reserve.

The MM Hills is spread over 1,224 square kilometres of which 906.18 sq km was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 2013. The growing tiger population has prompted the forest departments to make efforts to declare the sanctuary as a tiger reserve. The sanctuary has seven forest ranges including Kollegala Buffer, Hanuru Buffer, PG Palyam, Hugyam, Ramapura, MM Hills and Palar ranges. Another unique thing about the sanctuary is that it shares a border with Biligiriranganatha Tiger Reserve and Satyamangala Tiger Reserve. As a result, the area witnessed the movement of tigers.

The National tiger conservation authority has given a green signal to the proposal sent by the forest department in the year 2018 itself. The State Government has to approve the proposal to declare it as a tiger reserve. But highly placed sources told Newskarnataka that the issue was discussed in the State Government Cabinet meeting held on March 11. Few ministers from the Mysuru region have objected to the move citing the local people adjacent to the sanctuary would be affected owing to the tough norms of the forest department. The ministers also told that the sanctuary has a famous Male Mahadeshwara Temple in MM Hills. The proposal would also hamper the development of the temple as thousands of devotees visit daily and it is one of the highest incomes generating shrines. The ministers urged to maintain the status quo.

But the Chief Secretary of the government convinced the Cabinet that if the government declares it a tiger reserve tourism would be developed. The MM Hills would draw the attention of the nation, moreover, the Union Government will provide grants reducing the financial burden of the State. After discussions, the meeting left the issue to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s discretion. The CM Bommai kept the file pending with him.

At present, there are 53 tiger reserves in the country of which many tiger reserves have no tigers! For example, Pakke Tiger Reserve (TR) in Arunachala Pradesh has only 9 tigers, Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram has not even one tiger, and Palmava Tiger Reserve in Jharkhand has just single-digit tigers, Mudunthorai Tiger Reserve in Tamilnadu has 18 tigers. Though there are no tigers or the number is less the State governments continue it as tiger reserves to conserve and develop forests. Despite MMHWLS having 25 to 30 tigers, the State Government is dilly-dallying to declare it as Tiger Reserve

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