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Save tigers

Sir,

In official and distressing figures released by the newly-minted National Tiger Conservation Authority (set up to implement India's Project Tiger), the latest estimated count of tigers remaining in India’s protected forests hovers at a mere 1,411 – less than half of the 3,642 tigers tallied during the last census of 2001-2002. India is believed to be home to about half of the world’s remaining wild tiger population.

The main culprits for this decline are poaching, habitat loss and the increasing scarcity of prey. Across the border in China and in other parts of Southeast Asia, tiger-derived products and medicines are in demand, further pushing the tiger toward extinction.

But according to the secretary of the Tiger Project, Rajesh Gopal, there is still hope to be found in the fact that the government is setting up eight new tiger reserves, covering 30,000 square kilometres of known tiger territory. In addition to this and in the face of immense international pressure of "too little, too late", the government also recently set up a wildlife crime control bureau to keep poaching of tigers and other endangered animals in check.

Though the announcement seems grim, three other important tiger habitats were omitted from the count, while census work carries on in mangrove forests of the Sundarbans, located in the eastern state of West Bengal. Due to the risk posed by Maoist rebels, the census also omitted eastern Jharkhand and central Chhattisgarh

Tiger Sanctuaries like Corbett National Park in Uttaranchal and Bandipur, and Nagarhole in Karnataka are safe havens with the number of tigers in these areas remaining more or less the same.

Central and Western India was supposed to be a safe haven for tigers, but the latest Tiger Census shows that the number of Tigers in Madhya Pradesh have almost halved in the last five-six years.

Sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh like Panna and Kanha and even Melghat in Maharashtra have witnessed a drastic reduction in the number of tigers.

Your's etc....
Sohail Sharma
Trikuta Nagar, Jammu

Grading system

Sir,

We all know that replacing board exams with grades is one of the most argued topic these days.The aim of this decision is to lessen the burden of the children who become frustrated due to the burden of studies.

Moreover parents also lay a lot of stress on children to score good marks in exams which sometimes force them to take mindless decisions like suicide etc. and our education minister took this decision especially to prevent such cases but there is the other side of the coin too.While making efforts to prevent such cases and provide a healthier and happy life to children many other problems have also arise as it decreases the the competitive feeling in students and they become careless in class.

Moreover, the problem is not solved yet.Students will have to face the board exams again in 12th std. To put the matter into a nut shell we can say that parents play an important role in helping the students to tackle the exams easily; so they should play their role well and encourage the students to do well in exams and never pressurise them to do so.

Yours etc....
Arun Ambardar
on e-mail.

Indigenise Defence production sector

Sir,

It is quite heartening to know that India's Defense Procurement Policy (DPP) is being fine tuned to reduce imports and promote indigenisation in defence production sector.

The process should have been initiated much before, as a country like India can't protect its sovereignty on the mercy of other nations.

It is an admitted fact that most of the defence needs of our security forces are met by importing equipments from other nations. These deals/contracts often either get delayed or are terminated due to frauds. Moreover, acquisition process is quite cumbersome and time consuming.

You have to float international tenders, then short list the chosen companies and complete formalities. Had these equipment been available in the country, such a situation would not arise. Besides we can reduce our reliance on the exporting countries.

Shashi Kant Sharma, Director General (Acquisition) Ministry of Defence has rightly said ‘‘If India was to have a say in the global milieu, it needed to have a vibrant defence industry. By indigenising defence production sector, the country will not only save huge exchequer, but will also create lakhs of job opportunities for the unemployed.

Yours etc...
Ranjit Singh
R S Pura

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