An official fiasco

the much talked about move against the poachers in the Corbett Tiger Reserve (ctr) is in danger of falling apart at its most crucial juncture. The Union government has since February 2001, stopped payment to the 275-member task force engaged by the ctr authorities to patrol the reserve. Its members include local villagers. A S Negi, the chief wildlife warden of Uttaranchal, said that the cost of the involvement of the villagers was to be shared equally by the state and the Union government. However, due to the lack of funds, the state government requested the Union government to pay the entire amount. "Although the secretary of the Union ministry of environment and forests and the administration there accepted the proposal to bear the full cost, the finance department is creating problems,' Negi said. This situation could not have come at a more crucial time. The monsoon rains have already wiped out all visible tracks inside Corbett, providing armed poachers with unhindered access.

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