Dispur’s tardiness irks Centre



GUWAHATI, Nov 17: The Centre has already sanctioned funds for setting up a Rhino Protection Force, comprising of local youths of Kaziranga, but the Assam government has not even completed the recruitment process. Stating this, Union minister of State (independent charge) for Forest, Environment and Climate Change Prakash Javedkar said that he has already written to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi twice on this issue, and will talk to him again soon.

Queried about ubated rhino poaching in the tiol park, the minister also said that the Union government will send a team to study the happenings in Kaziranga. “I will ask for detailed report from the team which will visit the tiol park,” he said.

While 24 rhinos were poached in KNP last year, as many poachers were also gunned down in the park, Javadekar pointed out. He was interacting with scribes at Patgaon–based BSF headquarters on Tuesday.

Reacting to protests by indigenous locals against the eviction drive at Kaziranga tiol park, Javadekar said that a detailed report has been sought from the State government, and if necessary, the government will approach the court again with new details.

The protesters have been claiming to be indigenous people whose forefathers have been residing in Kaziranga for over a hundred years. The eviction drive is being carried out consequent to a Supreme Court order to clear all encroachments and human habitations in the areas that were later brought under the tiol park.

About people of doubtful tiolity settling around KNP while indigenous local people are being evicted, Javedkar said who should first be evicted and who should be second will soon be made clear.

Referring to 500 people killed in man–elephant conflicts last year, the minister said that besides conserving and expanding fodder area inside forests and wildlife sanctuaries and creating a new budget for this purpose, others steps to resolve the conflict are being pursued like encouraging people to relocate voluntarily from known animal corridors, erecting fences at vulnerable areas and educating people in fringe areas about new techniques to resist conflict.

The minister iugurated a residential colony at Bornihat where forest rangers undergo training. He assured of more fince for such training institute as training is an all important matter. He also expressed satisfaction over his “good interaction” with farmers at Jorhat yesterday.

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