Context: More than 200 contingency workers of the Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh went on an indefinite strike over non-payment of wages since December 2020.
- Other than payment of wages of the staff under Project Tiger, the union has demanded regularisation of the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF).
- Special Tiger Protection Force:
- It checks illegal human intrusion into the reserve through villages located on its fringes and serves as a second layer of protection for tigers at various tiger reserves.
- It was announced in the union budget of 2008 and created in the same year.
- Apart from STPF second layer protection, the First layer protection is provided in the inner range by beat level forest guards through regular patrols, and the Third level is provided by the police and central intelligence agency who work together to prevent crimes like the poaching of tigers.
- Increase of wage last revised in 2018 to ₹11,000 per month and monthly payout instead of periodic disbursement.
Impact of the strike:
- The 862 sq.km. the tiger reserve in Pakke-Kessang district has been left unguarded.
- All the 202 workers, along with their eight elephants, converged at the tiger reserve’s administrative office to demand wages pending for the last six months.
The reason behind the delay in the pay:
- The second instalment of ₹1.32 crore (under the National Tiger Conservation Authority grant) was released in January.
- The money is lying in the State exchequer instead of being transferred to the Divisional Forest Officer of the tiger reserve for disbursement of wages.
- Two years ago that led to the discontinuation of services of 53 frontline staff in the 1,895 sq. km Namdapha Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh.
Pakke Tiger Reserve:
- It is also known as Pakhui Tiger Reserve.
- It is a Project Tiger reserve in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India.
- It is a biodiversity hotspot of the eastern Himalayas.
- This Tiger Reserve has won India Biodiversity Award 2016 in the category of 'Conservation of threatened species' for its Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme.
Namdapha Tiger Reserve:
- It is a Tiger Reserve and a national park.
- It is India’s easternmost tiger reserve.
- It is located in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh near the international border with Myanmar.
- The area is located between Dapha Bum ridge of Mishmi Hills, out spurs of North Eastern Himalayas and Patkai Ranges.
- Namdapha river: Namdapha is in fact the name of a river that originates from Dapha Bum and meets the Noa-Dihing river. This river flows right across in a North-South direction of the National Park and hence the name Namdapha has been given.
Source: The Hindu