In 1997, the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), Government of India, approached our team, then located at the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), to send in a proposal for conducting a second survey on the status of the management of national parks and sanctuaries in India. This second survey was expected to be designed and conducted in a manner such that its findings could be compared with the findings of the first survey (1984-89),and changes in the management status easily identified.
A proposal was sent in and duly approved by the MoEF. A contract was signed with the MOEF in1998 to conduct this survey over a period of three years (1998-2001), supported by a World Bank grant to the MoEF.
This survey, though similar in methodology and approach to the earlier survey, also sought to expand the scope and collect, compile, and analyse information on aspects other than thosestudied in the first survey. It also sought to build up a photographic database, and to analyse population data in and around a sample of PAs.
The survey was carried out, as proposed, between 1998 and 2001. The report was submitted to the MOEF in 2001.
We were fortunate to have had, at the IIPA, a highly motivated and competent research team, some of whom had also been members of the research team that had conducted the first survey.
Among the senior members there was Vasumathi Sankaran, who was a geographer by training, and had been a member of the wildlife research team at the IIPA since the early 1990s. In age, she was the senior most member of the team and, as such, was the only team member who was
addressed formally as Mrs Sankaran (soon abbreviated to Mrs S), while the rest of us were referred to by our first name.
Another senior member of the team was Tara Gandhi, who was a biologist and a wild lifer by training. Raman Mehta, who had been a part of the first survey team, Vishaish Uppal, who had joined the IIPA team in the early 1990s, and Prabhakar Rao, who was a professor at the University of Delhi and assisted in an honorary capacity, were some of the other senior members.
In 2001, soon after submitting the report, I left the IIPA and joined as honorary director of the Centre for Equity Studies (CES), New Delhi. Vishaiah Uppal, Salim Qureshi and Arpan Sharma, who were members of the team at IIPA, also shifted to the CES.
Over the next year or so we received a lot of feedback on our 2001 report, and also got back many more filled-in questionnaires from those national parks and sanctuaries that had not responded in time, and therefore whose data could not be included in our 2001 report. It was,
therefore, decided to upgrade our 2001 report by taking into consideration the various feedback received and also incorporating the data from the additional questionnaires received. The updated and revised version of the report was submitted to the MoEF, from the CES, in 2003, and is the version that is being included here. Unfortunately, despite containing much information that would have been of a wider public interest, our reports were never made public. We ourselves were bound by a clause in our agreement which prohibited us from making any information public for a period of 3 years.
Much before the 3 years were over, we had all got involved with other things (I with the right to information movement), and therefore these reports remained unpublished. We are trying to right that wrong now, even though much of what these reports contain might now be of historical interest only. Nevertheless, we are hoping that their publication might motivate someone or some institution to initiate a third survey, by a fresh research team, that could properly analyse what has changed, for better or worse, in the management status of national
parks and sanctuaries in India over the last nearly 20 years.
Yet to To be uploaded:
- Directories of NPS containing PA Profiles, Maps, & Photograph
1998 – Questionnaire-1 – Survey of National Parks and Sanctuaries in India
2002 – Profiles of Selected National Parks & Sanctuaries in India
2003 – Vol 1 – Reassessing the Managament of National Parks & Sanctuaries in India – Findings & Recommendations
2003 – Vol 2 – Reassessing the Management of National Parks in India – Biological Profiles of Individual PAs
2003 – Vol 3 – Reassessing the Management of National Parks in India – Socio-economic Profiles of Individual PAs
2003 – Vol 4 – Reassessing the Management of National Parks in India – Management Profies of Individual PAs
2003 – Vol 5 – Reassessing the Management of National Parks in India – Detailed Socio-economic Profiles of Selected PAs (Part 1)
2003 – Vol 6 – Reassessing the Management of National Parks in India – Detailed Socio-economic Profiles of Selected PAs (Part II)