DR. RADHAKANT NAYAK (CONTD.): There are so many organisations and so much of manpower has been created for nothing. If you compare the present population of tigers which varies from one thousand to fifteen thousand by different calculations with the number of persons to be deployed by this Bill, appears to be disproportionately larger than the number of tigers that exist. Now, such kind of disproportion, such kind of imbalance, is being created by this Bill. Therefore, Sir, I would submit that the hon. Minister has made a very pioneering effort. I congratulate him for this Bill.
(THE VICE-CHAIRMAN, PROF. P.J. KURIEN, in the Chair)
But, I am pretty sure that he will certainly look into the different structural frameworks which he wants to put in place for protecting the tiger, the hierarchical order that he wants to prescribe and the decision-making processes in the entire gamut of activities that are related to the enforcement of this Bill.
Sir, we go now to the Financial Memorandum of this Bill. It seems as if the meetings of the conservation authorities are more important than anything else. Sir, it is specifically mentioned in the Financial Memorandum that expenditure for meetings will be met from the sanctioned budget of Rs.32 crores, besides, of course, the Plan expenditure. Now, Sir, it seems as if the meetings of the authority are more important. Where they could be held is laid down in the Bill. But actually what exactly is the purpose for which the meeting is going to be held, is not very clearly spelt out. Not only that, Sir, we have neglected the service conditions of the forest guards those who actually have to bear the brunt of not only the wild beasts on the one side, but also the poachers on the other side. I got a report from one of the newspapers that even Ranthombore Tiger Reserve had only home guards and not forest guards. Sir, I am sure the hon. Minister is aware that there is a ban on the recruitment of forest guard even now. I don't know whether this ban has been lifted in the meantime. I have no idea of that. Forest guard who is a trained tribal should be deployed. No home guard, no authority -- we have created so many of them --- is going to protect the forests. Sir, this is slightly beyond the Bill. But, I would request the hon. Minister, why not like the Police or the Health Services, the forest services in these tiger reserves, at least, should be declared as essential services. What has happened is, Sir, one of my colleagues, the previous speaker, mentioned that a very small, a paltry, amount of money is being paid to the forest guard. How can he make a living, especially when he has to meet with dangerous animals like tiger? Now, it is because of this that forest guard, forest conservation authority on the ground -- not the superstructure, they are not going to protect the forest, they can only deliberate and give long speeches like what we are doing in this House -- the actual functionaries on the ground, should be adequately strengthened and protected. Their right and interest have to be safeguarded. Thank you very much, Sir. (Ends)
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Thank you Dr. Nayak. Now, Shrimati N.P. Durga.
SHRIMATI N.P. DURGA (ANDHRA PRADESH): Thank you, Mr. Vice-Chairman, Sir, for allowing me to speak on this sixth amendment Bill brought before the House by the hon. Minister to the Wildlife (Protection) Act. The Minister has brought this Bill before Parliament with a lot of fanfare and with twin objectives of tiger conservation and protecting the rights of the tribals in and around our wildlife sanctuaries. This amendment, to my kind, is like any other amendments which the Government has brought in 1982, 1986, 1991, 1993 and 2002 without any substantial results. In spite of amending this Act five times, the Government could achieve virtually nothing. This becomes clear if you look at the tiger statistics in our 28 Tiger Reserves spreading all over the country. Even if you look at the first few words of this Bill, this becomes clear. The Bill, in the beginning itself, says, "It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification, in the official Gazette, appoint." This clearly says that nobody knows when the Bill is going to come into effect even after passing by both the Houses of Parliament.
Sir, the second point is, since the enactment of Wildlife Act in 1972, never in the past, has there ever been an increase in the number of big cats. Of course, there was a ray of hope between 1972 and 1987 or 1988, because during that period there was an enormous increase in the population of tigers from 1827 to 4334, that is, 150 per cent increase.
(Contd. by TMV/2b)
SHRIMATI N. P. DURGA (CONTD.): Now, the tiger population has come to 1,300 from 1,700, as per the All India Estimate of Tiger Habitat Status. I have no hesitation in saying that we had a success story under the Chairmanship of Shrimati Indira Gandhi. When she was the Prime Minister, she conducted meetings every month as the Chairperson of the Project Tiger and the great thing was that she chaired all the meetings. But no such commitment was shown by the followers of Shrimati Gandhi.
Sir, I wish to give one more example of how the Government is trying to play with the census and overruling its own project Tiger appointed Smithsonian expert, one of the world's most revered tiger experts, Mr. Seidensticker, and his team. The Government differed from the Report submitted by Mr. Seidensticker. I wish to know the reasons behind this. He pointed out umpteen flaws in the census. The other point is the tiger census was to be completed by last month, that is, July, 2006. But the Government says that it will take one more year to complete the same. I wish to know the opinion of the Government on the Report submitted by Mr. Seidensticker on the entire process of counting and the reasons for taking more time in completing the tiger census are.
Now, I come to clause 3 of the Bill which adds a proviso to section 51 of the principal Act. Under this clause the Union Government can punish offences committed by poachers, hunters and impostors in the tiger reserves. I fail to understand how the Union Government can punish an offender of the forest when it has no right on the forest. Forest is a State subject. How can the Union Government encroach upon a State matter? Has the Ministry consulted the Law Ministry? If it has done so, what is the advice of the Law Ministry on this clause?
The next point which I would like to know from the hon. Minister is: What has happened to the proposal to constitute a National Wildlife Crime Bureau to investigate into the various offences on the lines of the National Narcotics Bureau? Another point is about the problems that are being faced by the States with regard to the staff. Take, for example, Namdhapa reserve in Arunachal Pradesh. One Forest Guard has to cover 65-70 square kilometres there. How can they keep a watch over such a huge area? The States do not have funds to appoint Forest Guards or buy weapons for them. Hence, I request the hon. Minister to extend financial assistance to the States in procuring arms and in appointing Forest Guards.
Sir, I welcome the constitution of a Steering Committee at the State level with the Chief Minister as the Chairman. But, nothing has been mentioned in the Bill as to how many times the Steering Committee should meet for ensuring coordination, monitoring and protection of tigers in that State. I suggest that, at least, three meetings should be held in a year so that we can assess the situation in the reserve.
Sir, I conclude by saying what Dr. Manmohan Singh has said. He said that he would never allow another "Sariska" and he would save the tiger for posterity. I hope that the Ministry will take these words in letter and spirit and bring back those glorious days of the seventies and the eighties. Thank you. (Ends)
SHRI SANJAY RAUT (MAHARASHTRA): Thank you very much, Sir, for giving me time to speak on this important Bill. At the outset, I must congratulate the hon. Minister of Environment and Forests for introducing this Bill to amend the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. This amendment, I have no doubt, will not only strengthen our efforts to protect and preserve the wildlife in our country, but also help us in protecting the fast-dwindling population of tigers in the country. Though I have congratulated the Minister for introducing this important Amendment Bill, I must express my dissatisfaction over the inordinate delay in introducing this Amendment Bill. The Ministry, I am sorry to say, is not very serious in protecting the wildlife and forests of the country because this amendment was brought forward only at the fag end of the session. The forests, which cover the land in our country, act as a sponge and suck every drop of rainwater, and, in turn, recharges the groundwater table. (Contd. by VK/2C)
SHRI SANJAY RAUT (CONTD): This rise in water table maintains the status and flow of our rivers. Thus protecting forests is not only protecting wildlife like tigers but it is a conscious effort for economic development of our country.
Sir, I believe that tigers in our country are the flagship specie which represents the entire wildlife kingdom, and the wildlife plays an important role in the natural regeneration of our forests. Can we imagine a world without forests? No, we cannot. To our utter dismay we often read the news that a number of tigers are killed unlawfully by poachers in our country. There was a news item published in the newspapers that about 30 tigers were believed to have been killed only last year and not a single forest officer has been held responsible for this. The Environment and Forests Department is silent on it and no action has been initiated against the officers of the Department.
Sir, there is a separate cell called "Project Tiger' in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, but the officers and employees working in this project are only the silent spectators of indiscriminate killings of tigers in the last few years. However, I must congratulate the hon. Chief Minister of Rajasthan, who has taken this incident of poaching of tigers very seriously and has immediately transferred and even suspended some top forest officers in the PCCF wildlife. I have come to know that the situation in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan is improving now because of this strict action of the hon. Chief Minister of Rajasthan. But, what is the situation in other States of the country? As per my knowledge, not a single officer in Delhi has been punished so far. I am sure, similar strict action against guilty officers will send a very clear message across the country that the Government is very serious in preserving and protecting the wildlife in the country.
There are a number of reports published in the media, highlighting many shortcomings of top officers in the "Project Tiger" in Delhi and in the Ministry of Environment and Forests. This amendment has been brought in this background.
I have read the amendment of the Bill very carefully and I am of the opinion that the amendment needs some changes, if we are really serious in achieving our objective of protecting the population of tigers in the country. Sir, the amendment talks about setting up of a National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) at the Centre, a Steering Committee (SC) at the State level and a Tiger Conservation Foundation (TCF) at every tiger reserve. But, there are already such bodies like the Indian Board for Wildlife, IBWL at the Centre and the State Boards for Wildlife at the State level.
It is not the problem of setting up of an authority or boards for the protection of tigers; the real problem is, these boards hardly meet. The hon. Prime Minister is the Chairman of the Indian Board for Wildlife and the Chief Ministers of the States are the Chairmen of the State Board for Wildlife. The hon. Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers hardly spare time to conduct meetings of IBWL or SBWL. It is not mandatory for the Chairmen of these Boards to conduct regular meetings. In such a situation, how can one expect a better future for the wildlife in the country? I, therefore, suggest that conducting minimum number of meetings of newly introduced NTCA and TCF must be made mandatory for these Committees and action should be taken against the Member- Secretary of NTCA and TCF, if he fails in his duty.
My second suggestion is regarding clause 3 -- Amendment of Section 51. It states, "Provided further that whether the offence committed is in relation to core area of the tiger reserve or whether the offence relates to hunting in the tiger reserve or altering the boundaries of the tiger reserve, such an offence shall be punishable." Here I would like to add the words "habitat destruction", whether someone is actually hunting the tiger or is destroying the valuable habitat of the tiger by either setting the forest on fire or by cutting the forest or running an unlawful quarry inside the reserve, all these activities lead to damaging of tiger habitats. This damage of tiger habitat is also equally responsible, in the fast dwindling population of tigers. (Contd. By 2D)
SHRI SANJAY RAUT (contd.): Here, I also wish to draw the attention of the House that when we want to protect and preserve the forests and wildlife in our country, we cannot neglect the problems and condition of our Scheduled Tribe brothers who mainly stay in and around forests. In fact, their life and culture is inseparable from forests and wildlife. Our Scheduled Tribe brothers and sisters have protected both forests and wildlife of our country by their way of life and by their ancient cultural life, which is full of many customs and traditions. But, unfortunately, due to many development projects like dams, factories, etc., many of our Scheduled Tribe brothers are forced to change their living places and also give up their traditional source of food and shelter. In fact, the developing projects in the forest areas have adversely affected not only trees, tigers and animals but also the Scheduled Tribe people of our country. Here I would like to draw an example of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai. Though Mumbai is a metropolitan city, there are many scheduled tribe men and women who still live in the National Park of Mumbai, at Borivali. There is a protected reserve for tigers, and tigers are kept in this area, but due to rising population of Mumbai, there are many unauthorised huts in the National Park land and also a systematic encroachment by the builders, with the help of Government officers, on the land of the National Park. This has forced the original residents belonging to the Scheduled Tribes to leave their homes. Similarly, even the tigers kept in the National Park go out of the boundaries of National Park and stride over to Mumbai in search of shelter. I feel that the Ministry should consider the effect of fast growing urbanisation in the country, encroachment on forests and its effects. Thank you. (Ends)
MS. SUSHILA TIRIYA (ORISSA): Sir, I rise to support the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2005. After a long wait, this Bill had been introduced, and now it has come up for discussion in the House. I would also congratulate the Minister for his perseverance in bringing this Bill before this House.
Sir, this Bill has a co-relation with the Tribal Protection Bill, and the amendments, which Smt. Brindaji has suggested, would hold good for that Bill as well. So, both the Bills, the Widlife Protection Bill and the Tribal Protection Bill, should have been taken up together and passed by this House. This would have served the purpose better.
Sir, I just want to say a few words on this Bill. The Wildlife Protection Bill should not be just like the PCPNDT Bill, 1994. Actually, the PCPNDT Bill was passed in 1994, but that has not been properly implemented through out the country, across the State level, the district level and the block level. A mere introduction and passing of this Bill is not going to serve the purpose for which it is meant. The Bill should be properly implemented from the core of the heart, with all sincerity and dedication. The Bill has to be purposefully implemented by various authorities. Sir, I had said earlier also, when I was in the other House, that rehabilitation of the tribal people living in these forest areas should be the main objective. These people are destitutes and they are landless. I would like to bring to the notice of the Government that there are nearly 10 lakh tribals who are yet to be rehabilitated. My point is, in the name of this Bill, their livelihood should not be affected. These tribal people are residing on the buffer area or on the periphery of the forest land or in the vicinity of the national parks. Now, once this Bill comes into effect, it is these tribal people, who are living in the forest areas or on the buffer areas or on the periphery of these areas, who would get affected. (Continued by 2E)
MS. SUSHILA TIRIYA (CONTD.): This is my first and foremost request to the hon. Minister. Sir, I have read one book of Bertrand Russel, a great philosopher and thinker. I quote, "The lions and tigers", I can put the word 'tribal' also there, "destroy fewer animals and human lives than humans do." But, the civilised human beings have done more harm to them. Basically, I can compare the forests, animals and wild life with the tribals only because of their innocence. I cannot compare the human life with the wild life, Sir. My question here is, to such innocent wild life, the human beings are trying to damage them, harm them, poach them and hunt them. In the same way, we are also attacking the tribal people who are residing in the forest areas. They are also innocent like them. I can say, the civilised world is trying to abuse them and suppress them. That is why I call them innocent people. So, we should not attack forests, tigers and also the tribals. They all live beautifully together. They should be allowed to live together.
Sir, the second point, I want to put before the House is this. Sir, if my party is attacked by another party, then, I will, definitely, try to set the record straight. As I come from a tribal background, so I can throw more light on Indian mythology when it is compared with a tribal. Sir, as per Indian mythology, there were several kings and kingdoms. Most of these kings were tribal kings. They used to put birds and animals in connection with the God in their kingdoms' mementos. But, what I find is, all the kingdom mementos are not put in the Parliament Library. When I came for the first time in the Parliament, I searched in the whole Library, but I did not find those mementos there. There are so many mementos there. They have brought in these mementos from earlier kingdoms. Those mementos are so glorified with birds, animals, wild life, elephants, tigers, lions, etc. It is not shown how they are associated with the kingdoms, with the rajas, with the wild animal species. So, those kingdom mementos show how they loved one another. So, if we again start loving the wild life and the animals, naturally, this Bill will be fruitful. If we do it, then, the purpose of this Bill would be served. Sir, in Thailand, people give a lot of respect to tigers. That is why Thailand is called as the Temple of Tigers. I can say the same thing about the Buddhist monks also. They have said that tigers are more sacred, and they have respected tigers to the highest level.
Sir, our former Prime Minister, late Pt. Nehru said that there were so many Asiatic tigers, and we were not able to safeguard them. So, he laid emphasis on safeguarding the tigers. As a result, he was able to safeguard 25 Asiatic tigers in our country. Sir, after that, Indiraji took some further steps in this regard. She herself was the Chairperson of the Standing Committee. She had formed a separate Ministry called the Ministry of Environment and Forests. She looked after that Ministry very well. Under the leadership of Indiraji, for the first time, the Ministry of Environment and Forests was formed. She was also able to safeguard 2500 tigers. (Contd. by kgg/2f)
MS. SUSHILA TIRIYA (CONTD.): And Rajivji too took things in the same way; he also took interest in the protection of wildlife and now our Prime Minister has given a commitment to the public and said that he would not again allow another 'sariska' in this country; that he would not allow any tiger project in any place become another 'sariska'. My point here is, Sir, big people--I am not naming them and I do not want to bring any barrier between the royal families and big people--I observe that these people and the people in film world, and the rich people of our country think that hunting is a status symbol. My appeal to the Ministry here is to look into this aspect and teach them. Look into how to approach them and make them understand that they should not think that hunting is a status symbol. Maybe, their conviction is like that.
The Minister has come up with so many amendments in this Bill. As regards the punishment he has raised it from 3 years to 7 years, and from 7 years to 10 years. Earlier, the fine was Rs.50,000 and now it is Rs. 2.5 lakhs, like that. My point here is on teaching the big people. Simply attacking the tribal people at the periphery, you will not understand the problem. The big people, royal mentality-people are actually doing harm to the wildlife and they think that hunting is a status symbol, basically. For them, a fine of Rs.2.5 lakhs is nothing. Punishment of 7-10 years is also nothing. We have to think in a different way in dealing with them. We have to understand them so that they are made to understand. Wildlife is such a thing that it creates the ecological balance. Wildlife constitute not only lion, tiger, elephant and other endangered animals, but it also constitutes flora and fauna. Some times, the flora and fauna plays such a balance to the country's ecology that we should take care of both the aspects carefully---wildlife as well as flora and fauna of our country.
Lastly, I would like to say, Sir, about clause 11. Clause 11 provides power to the Chief Wildlife Warden or the authorised officer to permit any person to hunt such wildlife animals which become dangerous to the human life or property, including standing crops or any land. The concerned people may not understand the circumstances which warrant the use of this clause and it may not be used in a proper way. I do not understand the significance of clause 11. I appeal to the Minister to think about this. On the one hand he says that we are going to put more emphasis or attach more importance to give protection to wildlife, according to this Bill. On the other hand, we are allowing clause 11 to give permission to the Warden or any authorised officer to hunt also. It may be a wildlife which is endangered which might have disturbed the crops or human beings. That is immaterial. There should be some amendment. What I am saying is that there should be some amendment so that clause 11 is not misused. It should not be utilised in improper way. I have seen some politicians, big people misusing this power. People have simply brought this clause 11 to satisfy the big people or those who go as tourists. They are providing this for hunting some of the pigs, some of the deer, some of the tigers to oblige them. I am saying that clause 11 should be properly taken care of.
Sir, I again congratulate the Minister and would like to know from him whether the enhanced punishment from 7 years to 10 years and a rise of fine from Rs.50,000 to Rs.2 lakhs is satisfactory and fruitful, as provided in the Bill. (Contd. by kls/2g)
MS. SUSHILA TIRIYA (CONTD): I would like to know whether this will protect the wildlife in the name of conviction and whether the formation of Crime Control Bureau, which may be tomorrow a thing of centralised implementation and all these things are done at the national level but will the Crime Control Bureau be able to serve the purpose of controlling crimes? I am putting here a suggestion. Without giving more powers to the Army in the border areas of Nepal and China, this Bureau will not be able to do it alone. The Crime Control Bureau, is no doubt, a welcome step but along with that the Army should also be deployed in the border areas so that skins and other such things required for manufacturing are not supplied to Nepal and China through the Nepal border. Sir, that is my only point. The last point is that there should be Jungle Suraksha Bal. In tribal areas, there is one National Park in my constituency. It was a Tiger Project now it is called Simlipal Biosphere. It is a very big biosphere. In the peripheral area, we bring a politician. We have also tried a lot to safeguard the forests. We give power to the tribal villages. We formed there Jungle Surksha Bal. Earlier the Environment Minister in the State was from that district of Orissa. He helped us in the formation of Jungle Suraksha Bal. That was, no doubt, a welcome step. They tried to save the jungle peripheral area, the Tiger Reserve and tribal area. There was a time when there was a lot of hunting and poaching before the declaration of this area as a biosphere area. Now, the tribal people are taking charge. We have got them awarded from the State Government also so that they feel encouraged to be jungle surksha karmi so that they are doing more fruitful work in future also. There should be some peripheral Jungle Suraksha Bal Committee. We should give more power to the tribal people from buffer area. There should be agriculture facilities nearby just before that area so that in the name of agriculture these tribal people can be more involved in that area in the reserved areas, in the national parks. The main feature of this Bill is the establishment of the Tiger Conservation Foundation and the Crime Control Bureau. Both These things are, no doubt, welcome steps. Today the Minister is here. Tomorrow, God is there to help him; he should be Minister for long till our Government is there. I request him to properly look after the implementation this Bill after it has been passed in the tribal areas, national parks areas and 28 Tiger Project areas because the tribal people will be happy and thank him. Thank you.
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN: (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Shri Kapil Sibal requested that he may be permitted to make his statement now. If the House so agrees, I would allow him.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes, Sir.
STATEMENTS RE: STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION OF RECOMMENDATIONS CONTAINED IN REPORTS OF DEPARTMENT-RELATED PARLIAMENTARY STANDING COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS.
THE MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLGOY (SHRI KAPIL SIBAL): Sir, I make statements regarding status of implementation of recommendations contained in the Hundred and twenty-seventh, Hundred and forty-first, Hundred and forty-ninth, Hundred and fifty-seventh and Hundred and fifty-eighth Reports of the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests. (Ends)
THE WILD LIFE (PROTECTION) AMENDMENT BILL, 2005 (CONTD)
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI (MAHARASHTRA): Thank you, Mr. Vice-Chairman, Sir. The Chair cannot help it; I belong to a smaller party and, therefore, I am always at the fag end of any debate. Instead of that I generally have some new light to throw and some paradigms to bring in on the subject.
THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN): Last but not the least.
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI: Thank you very much, Sir.
(Contd by 2H)
(MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN in the Chair.)
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI (CONTD.): Sir, here, since the debate began, everybody has accepted the fact that the situation of tigers is extremely critical and something needs to be done. Everybody has generally agreed with the idea of creating an authority, giving in the necessary administrative and penal powers and giving them the necessary finances so that the tigers can be conserved and the number can be increased, if not stabilised, and all the suggestions that came from the House were more in the nature of fine-tuning the apparatus that the Bill proposes to set up. I am going to say that the method that has been adopted in the Bill is not going to be advantageous but it is actually going to be counter-productive and, as a result of this, you will find that at the end of five years, we would possibly see the extinction of tigers as species and, I would say, that this Bill represents actually the road map to the extinction of tigers. I have used every word carefully and I would request the Minister -- even though I am the last speaker -- to listen to what I am saying very carefully . This has come because of the wrong approach to the Bill. Firstly, this morning we had a rumpus as to why the Tribals Bill has not come to the Parliament yet, and, as Brindaji said, the two things go together, the tribals, the forest and the wild life cannot be separated from these, and if we find for some reason we could not bring the Tribals Bill in the Parliament, then, at the same time, we should have postponed the consideration of the Wild Life (Amendment) Bill also. But we have brought for the Wild Life Amendment Bill without really finalising what is going to be our position on the rights of the tribals. That is the first serious question. Secondly, Sir, this amendment merely introduced chapter 3 (b) in the whole Wild Life Act, which pertains to the tigers. Now, unfortunately, the extinction of species is not limited only to the tigers since tiger is our National Animal, we may give particular attention to that. The disaster in Sariska might have drawn the attention of the Prime Minister and, therefore, everybody must be trying to show that they are loyal to the Prime Minister than to the tigers. But the fact remains that there are a number of other precious species which are on the brink of extinction. Sir, since Shankaracharya's Narmada Ashtakam, now Shankaracharya describes Narmada River as being full of crocodiles. Today, there is not a single crocodile. I went to the Narmada Parikrama and did not see even one crocodile. That is the position of the Narmada River, which was supposed to be the home for the crocodiles. That is the position of the elephant. That is the position of the deer. Rather than taking a comprehensive approach on wild life in general, we are only introducing one chapter-3 (b) which relates to the tigers only. Sir, even while dealing with tigers our approach is the normal bureaucratic approach. If something is not happening appoint an authority. Appoint an authority at the National level, some Steering Committee at the State level, something at the Reserve level and create a mechanism without giving the authority any specific guidance on what they have to do. Now, I would say that the experience is, that when you merely do the conservation, you merely do the protection of the species and for the protection of the species, outlaw the trade in the products of that animal origin, then, that is the recipe for disaster. Sir, in the case of a tiger, each of its part is extremely valuable, starting from its viscous to the tail, the nail, the teeth, everything is valuable. Therefore, trading in tiger parts is an extremely alluring commercial proposition. The manner in which the Bill proposes the protection of the tiger merely creates an artificial scarcity in the market which results in a greater temptation for the poachers to do the poaching, to do hunting and get the parts. The second problem is, Sir, when you outlaw the trade, it is the outlawed who trade. It is not that the trade does not get that. The outlawed will start doing the trade. The poachers, the smugglers will do the trade. Secondly, Sir, this approach does not encourage the tribal people to have any interest in increasing the number of the tigers.
(Contd. by NBR/2J)
SHRI SHARAD ANANTRAO JOSHI (CONTD.): If the tribals, who are encouraged to follow a method where they would, actually, help growing the number of tigers and get a certain share of advantage in the trade of tigers parts and also in the touristy business that follows, I think, the tribals would have an interest in ensuring that the number of tigers go. But, that is not the approach. The alternative approaches have been tried. For example, crocodile is another animal of which every part is extremely valuable. And, the method has been tried in Australia and South Africa. Rather than prohibiting trade in crocodile parts, they regularised the trade in crocodile parts. With the result, a large number of people have, actually, started crocodile farms. Mr. Minister, if you are listening, please remember the word 'crocodile farm.' People are going in for regular crocodile husbandry. It is like forestry. You can never stop cutting trees. But what you do is, you plant more trees than you cut. Similarly, in the case of animals where you have the problem of animals being destroyed, then the important thing is increase the number in such a way that the species does not become extinct. This has happened in the case of elephants in Zimbabwe. Rather than prohibiting the trade in elephant parts, Zimbabwe, actually, permitted the trade in the ivory and they found that the number of elephants started, actually, increasing.
Similarly, in the case of tigers, the other country, which has a maximum demand for tiger parts, is China. In the Chinese traditional system of medicine, the tiger bones are supposed to have a particularly aphrodisiac and some other health-giving effect. And, therefore, there is a very large demand in China. China decided that rather than purchasing these things from other countries, they will have their own tigers and, therefore, started tiger farming in an organised way. Tiger farming is not a very good word. I think, the correct word would be 'tiger husbandry', because tiger husbandry also involves some element of culling of tigers. For example, once a tiger becomes old, then, they will have to be culled. You want tigers to pay for their own survival. But, the Chinese experience shows, and there are extensive reports on the subject, that China is now increasing the number of its tiger population by 10 per cent per year. We always talk about China. My Left friends always talk about China. I am afraid, they did not talk about using the Chinese method for increasing the tiger population here. Sir, the correct way of increasing the number of tigers is not prohibiting the trade in tiger parts, is not prohibiting poaching, but the important thing would be, you punish the poachers but you start tiger husbandry farms, tiger husbandry parks so that the number of tigers goes on increasing and then you can do a certain element of culling. The experience of merely protecting the tigers, merely protecting animals and by methods of conservation has failed in every country. It has failed in India for the last thirty years. And, the very recent example -- Mr. Maroo quoted only four lions dying in Delhi -- is that in the last fifteen days six lions died in the Delhi Zoo. If that is the position that can happen in your zoos, it means, that the idea of protecting and, therefore, stabilizing or increasing the species of tigers is misplaced and is a recipe for disaster. Mr. Minister, you might be there; I might not be there. But, I can guarantee you -- this is to go on record -- that in another ten years, we will find that this Bill has done a disservice to the species of tiger and all those who are responsible for this Bill will have to account for the fact that the tiger species got extinct because of what they did.
Fortunately for us, all the news is not all that bad. The entire idea of preserving the species has undergone a world change because of the genetic engineering. Today, it is possible to even resuscitate the whole species that had extinct thousands of years ago through genetic engineering methods and don't be afraid that tigers will not be extinct, because some day we will find some bone of a tiger and we should be able to create the entire species of the tigers after that.
(CONTD. BY USY "3K")
SHRI SHARAD ANANT RAO JOSHI (CONTD.): Sir, as on today, if you want this particular species to continue -- your method of conservation, your method of protection and punishing the people who do the poaching is entirely counter productive -- what you need to do is exactly the opposite. I hope, the Minister will give a satisfactory reply if he wants my vote in favour of the Bill, otherwise I am going to ask for a division and vote against the Bill. (Ends)
SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA (BIHAR): Sir, I have a few technical points. I would like to quote section 38-O, clause 2. It says, "The Tiger Conservation Authority may, in the exercise of its powers and performance of its functions under this Chapter, issue directions in writing to any person, officer or authority for the protection of tiger in tiger reserves and tiger bearing forests, and such person, officer or authority shall be bound to comply with the directions". I think, this clause infringes upon the rights of States. We have got a federal structure. States have their own rights. It is bound to comply. Certainly in any law, any legislation there are provisions to issue directions from the Central Government to the State Governments. But 'bound to comply' with such directions means it is mandatory. Here, it is not a direction or an advisory note; rather, it is becoming a mandate from the Central Government to the State Government. It is against the spirit of the Constitution, where the Central Government has its own identity; simultaneously, in the federal structure of our country, the States have their own authority. Again, it is not mentioned who is this 'person'; who is the person; who is this authority? Is it the Chief Minister, or, the State Chief Secretary, or, the State Chief Conservator Officer? Who is that person? It is not defined here. (Interruptions)
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: The Minister will reply later on.
SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA: Sir, the same Bill gives another power under section 38(U).
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: You are asking too many technical questions.
SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA: Yes, Sir, these are technical questions. That's why I am saying it has far-reaching consequences. It is infringing upon the rights of the State. And, when we are sitting in the Council of States, we have full right to raise this question and draw the attention of the Government to protect the interests of the State. In section 38(U), you say, (1) "The State Government may constitute a Steering Committee for ensuring co-ordination, monitoring, protection and conservation of tiger, co-predators and prey animals within the tiger range States. (2) The Steering Committee shall consist of -- (a) The Chief Minister -- Chairperson;.....". Sir, suppose a direction comes from the Central Government to the State, and you are issuing a direction to an officer, who may be the Chief Conservator, or, the Chief Secretary, or, the Home Secretary of a State, or, a Member of the Steering Committee...(Interruptions) You may issue directions. (Interruptions) And, if you issue directions the Steering Committee -- the Chairperson of the Steering Committee is the Chief Minister -- he is bound to comply with your directions. Then, in clause 38 (w), you say, "No alterations in the boundaries of a tiger reserve shall be made except on a recommendation of the Tiger Conservation Authority and the approval of the National Board for Wild Life. " It is again a State subject. The Centre can decide on that without asking the State to decide the boundary, to decide which are buffer areas, which are the crore areas, and which are the reserve areas. And, you say that you can't change it. (Interruptions) Sir, I am coming that. These are all technical points. Then, you say, "No State shall denotify a tiger reserve, except in public interest. The point is, who will decide ultimately? That means, through these clauses you are taking away all the rights of the States in your hands, which is basically infringing upon the rights of the States and our federal structure. (Contd. by 2l)
SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA (CONTD.): Sir, my point is very simple. It is technical and simple. Sir, I would like to urge upon the Government, through you, that they should reconsider this matter and come back to the House again. (Ends)
SHRIMATI BRINDA KARAT: They should act in consultation with the States.
SHRI S.S. AHLUWALIA: That is right.
SHRIMATI PREMA CARIAPPA (KARNATAKA): Thank you, Sir. Sir, I rise to support and express my views on important Bill, that is, the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2005. The Bill proposes to amend the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Sir, the two major aspects of the Bill are these. The first is, constituting a National Tiger Conservation Authority responsible for implementing Project Tiger Plan for protecting endangered tigers. And, secondly, facilitating the implementation of the Tiger Conservation Plans prepared by the State Government, keeping in mind the livelihood needs of the local people. Sir, Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 has been enacted with the purpose of preserving and protecting wildlife in the country. Section 9 of the Act prohibits hunting of the wild animals specified in the Schedule to the Act. Sir, the Cabinet recently cleared the legal provisions of the Bill along with the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force, which has recommended setting up of the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the National Wildlife Crime Bureau. The enactment of the Bill, with amendments, would facilitate implementation of the urgent recommendations of the Tiger Task Force, which was appointed by the hon. Prime Minister.
Sir, it is a matter of great concern that day by day the number of tiger species is decreasing drastically. Sir, as per the amendments, the Centre will have to constitute a special bureau to control wildlife crimes, specially, tiger poaching in the country. The move will strengthen conservation of tigers and other endangered species of wild animals through effective combating of wildlife crimes.
Sir, I suggest that the State Government should be empowered to constitute a steering committee to ensure protection and conservation of tigers and prey animals within the tiger-range States. The establishment of the Tiger Conservation Foundation by the State Government should, definitely, facilitate the management of tiger reserves. The sole aim of this Foundation should be to conserve tigers and Bio-Diversity. It should also promote eco-tourism. Sir, apart from illegal hunting, another important reason for the death of tigers is the various diseases they are attacked by. I am emphasising on the disease surveillance and mortality survey of tigers in the country. Sir, this could also be one of the important steps for the future plan for conservation. The National Tiger Conservation Authority should also emphasise and take effective protection measures, including future conservation plan, tiger estimation, disease surveillance, management and mortality survey.
The National Wildlife Crime Bureau will have to coordinate with concerned authorities in foreign countries and international organisations for facilitating universal action towards wildlife crime control. Sir, the Bureau should collate intelligence related to wildlife crime, its dissemination to States and other enforcement agencies for immediate action.
Sir, on the whole, the Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Bill strengthens the Wildlife Protection Act, which is badly needed today. Hence, I support the Bill. Thank you, Sir. (Ends) (Followed by PK/2M)
SHRIMATI HEMA MALINI (NOMINATED): The papers today carried a very disturbing piece of news - the sad depletion of our National Bird, beautiful, breathtaking peacock. The peacocks are mercilessly killed for medicinal oil extract that is supposed to be a wonder cure and for its meat, which is considered a delicacy. This kind of a meaningless distraction has to be stopped.
In the same way, we hear of the tiger population getting reduced as, they are haunted by poachers who sell the dead tiger at exorbitant prices.
The less said about the killing of elephants for their tusk, the better it would be. The dead elephants are found in the wild and in the so-called reserves with their tusk gorged out. When is all this senseless killing going to stop? Animals have an equal right to exist on our planet. Instead of taking pride in and preserving these wild species, man encroaches on animal reserves. When the animals cannot cope with the reduced habitat and stray into human habitation, a hue and cry is raised. We have witnessed a recent case of a leopard straying in Mumbai, Borivalli National Park.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has sanctioned money for building of a wall around the park. Work on this is yet to start because evictions have not yet been completed. About 50 new posts have been created for guards and the new staff has been appointed. New vehicles have been purchased and two companies of State Reserve Police have been permanently deployed to assist the Forest Department. However, facilities are still inadequate, considering that there are 103 sq. km. to be patrolled and guarded.
The lack of space in Mumbai has pushed residential colonies right up to the park boundary. This boundary is poorly fenced and has often allowed wild animals into human habitats. Illegal slums have also mushroomed around the park causing all sorts of problems. In June 2004, leopards were responsible for the death of 20 persons within a span of week. This was not the first attack, though. For the past ten years, there have been attacks attributed to leopards and panthers stalking children and adults outside the park fringes. When the situation reached alarming proportions, an outcry was raised and eight leopards were caught and relocated. But they are kept in a very bad condition.They are kept in a small cage. It is their place where we have encroached, and they are banging their heads in that small cage. They are terribly wounded. Even if we release them, they won't be able to survive on their own; they will die very soon. So, that is the condition of the Borivalli National Park, where leopards are living in.
Tours are bseing proposed in Coorg, Karnataka, on the Barapolay river in the middle of the Brahmagiri wild life sanctuary. This would mean thousands of native trees would be cut, leading to reduction of rainfall and drying up of streams and rivers. Wildlife such as the endangered lion-tailed Macaque monkeys, great Indian Hornbill, elephants, leopards and tigers would be severely affected.
By preserving forests and wildlife, hundreds of crores can be earned through wildlife tourism and lakhs of people can be employed.
(THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (SHRI KALRAJ MISHRA) IN THE CHAIR)
A directive was issued by your Ministry on February 6th, 2005, that no non-forest activity should be allowed in a wildlife sanctuary and in reserved forest known as 'protected areas. Are you aware that four dams are being proposed in the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary on the Barapolay River and one dam is being proposed in Kerala, 50 metres from the Coorg Border? These dams would destroy thousands of trees which mean drying up of water resources, since without forests there will be no rainfall and hence no water.
Please do not give approval to these projects; otherwise water sources for entire South India, Maharashtra and Goa will dry up. Moreover, the hon. Supreme Court has also issued an order forbidding any destruction in wildlife areas as well as reserve forests. Thank you.
(Ends) Followed by 2N/PB)