The Maharashtra forest department has imparted skill development training to over 200 youth from 25 villages located near Melghat tiger reserve in Amravati to help them get jobs and have a sustainable livelihood, an official said.
Tribal communities living in buffer and core areas of such tiger reserves are directly or indirectly dependent on forests and forest products, Melghat tiger reserve's field director M S Reddy told PTI on Saturday.
Due to infrastructural limitations and location of these villages in remote areas poses a challenge in providing skilled education to youth, he said, adding poverty in such areas also leads to a higher rate of drop-outs from schools.
"This leads to unemployment among locals, which is the greatest bane of these forests. Unemployment among these people also affects the forest ecosystem through various anthropogenic activities," he said.
To overcome these challenges and reduce their dependency on forests, the Melghat Tiger Conservation Foundation has set up three computer centres in Harisal, Chikhaldara and Vastapur villages of Amravati district.
As many as 224 youths from 25 villages with have been imparted training in information technology at these centres and awarded certificates, Reddy said.
"Providing sustainable livelihood to local communities is an important initiative for the conservation of forests and wildlife," the official said.
The Melghat Tiger Reserve is among the first nine reserves created in the country under the Project Tiger Mission, he said.
Spread over 2,768 sq km area in four wildlife divisions, the reserve includes a critical tiger habitat/core area of 1,500.5 sq km and a buffer zone of 1,268.3 sq km.
In 2018, the reserve comprised over 50 tigers, as per a report of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).