In a setback for wildlife enthusiasts rooting for creating a tiger reserve in Goa, state Environment Minister Aleixo Sequeira said Tuesday there was popular resistance to the proposal.
Speaking at a conference on environment in the city Tuesday, Sequeira said the issue “needs thorough deliberation before a final stand is taken by the Goa government”. ”One voice says they want a tiger reserve, another says they do not. Both have to be taken into account,” Sequeira said.
Wildlife activists in Goa have already started an online campaign for a tiger reserve in Mhadei wildlife sanctuary in the state, after former union minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh wrote to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat last month asking him to send across a formal proposal for setting up a tiger reserve in the state. Several ministers, including Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane in the Congress-led coalition government in Goa, are, however, resisting the move, claiming there was popular opposition to it. ”Governments should be concerned more about people than tigers. Setting up of a tiger reserve will put a lot of people living near the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary in discomfort,” Rane said.
According to state Forest Minister Filipe Neri Rodrigues, the Mhadei tiger reserve would take some time coming. ”We have to first take the local MLAs into confidence, then we have to talk to the local people, as to whether they want it or not. How can a decision be taken soon?” Rodrigues has said.