Rajya Sabha clears wildlife protection bill
Asian Age, New Delhi, 23-August-2006
New Delhi, Aug. 22: Giving a major boost to the conservation of
wildlife, the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Wildlife (Protection)
Amendment Bill 2006, paving the way for setting up of the National
Tiger Conservation Authority and National Wildlife Crime Bureau.
According to environmentalists, both the authority and bureau will help
immensely on curbing wildlife poaching and illegal smuggling.
The bill was passed by voice vote amidst din with BJP members trooping
to the well chanting Vande Mataram. They were not protesting against
the wildlife legislation, but were urging that countrymen should
respect the national song.
The legislation was passed with as many as 27 amendments, including
three to four proposed by the Left parties, to make it tribal-friendly.
The Left parties, which initially were opposed to the bill, asserting
it was in direct conflict with provisions of the yet-to-be-finalised
tribal bill, did not oppose it at the passage stage.
Union minister for environment and forests A. Raja’s brief reply
was drowned in slogan-shouting by protesting BJP members. He, however,
did not touch on some points raised by members that the setting up of a
statutory tiger conservation authority would force states to comply
with its orders. The authority will not only provide statutory
authority for Project Tiger but will also provide oversight by the
Parliament. The authority will also ensure support in the form of
scientific expertise, IT and legal experts.
While stressing on coexistence between tribal and animals, the
authority will also look into the aspect of providing institutional
mechanism to implement the tiger task force recommendations.