The World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-India) has set up six eco-development committees (EDC) in the villages falling under the eco-sensitive zone of the Pilibhit tiger reserve (PTR).
The committees have been registered under the Societies Registration Act and will work in coordination with the PTR.
The move is aimed at involving the locals in wildlife conservation programmes and protecting the forest from the timber mafia.
Naveen Khandelwal, deputy director of PTR, said each committee would comprise six elected villagers and a forest inspector of PTR, as secretary.
“The need for the EDCs was felt after the forestry project of JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) expired in 2017. We have a plan to constitute 90 EDCs in villages declared by PTR as ‘sensitive’ and ‘highly sensitive’ from the viewpoint of man-animal conflict,” he said.
The EDCs would also be linked directly with over 10 government departments like health, education, development, public distribution, woman and child care, horticulture, sericulture and Khadi and village industries board to extend direct benefits of the government-sponsored welfare schemes to village people.
The forest department and the WWF would provide the necessary revolving funds to the EDCs to carry out employment and sustenance-based programmes to ensure the linkage of communities living in the eco-sensitive zone of PTR to income generation sources.
After setting up a concrete platform of development and income generation, the EDCs would expand their activities and work as a link between the government departments and the village people for their welfare.