Ubated rhino poaching
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, March 1: Coming down heavily on the State Forest department, Assam Governor PB Acharya on Sunday said that the Forest minister should resign if he fails to stop rhino poaching in the State.
This was stated by the Governor while taking part in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan held at Fancy Bazar, the business hub of the city, on Sunday.
“There are 1,200 forest guards deployed for the protection of Kaziranga and its animals. But despite the availability of such a huge force, rhino poaching continues ubated in the tiol park. The Forest minister must take responsibility.”
The Governor also said that incidents of rhino poaching are increasing in Kaziranga due to callousness of the Forest department, forest guards and the people living areas surrounding the park. “If the villagers living in the fringe areas of the park do not cooperate with the government in curbing rhino poaching, they must be evicted,” he said.
In another meeting held at Raj Bhavan here on Sunday, which was attended by the Kaziranga tiol Park Director, top officials of the Forest department and security officials, the Governor gave a ultimatum saying that the Forest department must submit a list of problems it is facing to curb rhino poaching in the park within the next 24 hours.
Significantly, the newly inducted State Forest minister Etawa Munda was not present in the meeting held at Raj Bhavan.
The State government has increased the number of staff in the park over the years. In addition, more than 430 Assam Forest Protection Force (AFPF) personnel have been posted in the park since 2013.
However, poaching has been continuing ubated in the park. In 2014, a total of 28 rhinos were killed by poachers in the park.
On the issue of corruption, the Governor also warned that action will be taken against all corrupt ministers in the State. “All the corrupt ministers here need shock treatment and will be sent to jail,” he added.
Meanwhile, reacting strongly to the Governor’s statements on this issue, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said, “A Governor has his or her constitutiol limits and these limits should not be crossed. If the Governor has issued such statements as reported by media, then he has crossed his limits and we will not tolerate it.”