By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, July 16: The State government today launched an exercise for verification of rhino horns kept at the State treasuries.
A government-constituted committee, comprising of experts from within and outside the department, held its first sitting here and decided to have State Information Commissioner (retd) Mohan Chandra Malakar as its permanent chairman and Senior Wildlife Warden Pankaj Kumar Sharma as its member secretary.
The other member of the committee are Principal Secretary (Forest) Sanjeeva Kumar, PCCF (wildlife) Bikash Brahma, Kaziranga director Satyendra Singh, deputy director DD Boro, jourlists Mril Talukdar and Prashanta Rajguru, Treasury Officer Prab Sarma, Deputy Director of State Forensic department Athang Singson, Kaziranga DFO Suvasish Das and RTI activist Dilip Kumar th.
The committee has asked the DFOs and treasury officers of the State to submit lists of horns kept in their district treasuries. The committee will hold its next sitting on July 26 during which it will compile the entire database of the horns kept at the treasuries.
There are some 2,000 horns kept at 13 State treasuries, a bulk of these – around 1,600 – at Golaghat. It is learnt that the horns are kept in 38 trunks at the Golaghat treasury. Treasuries of gaon, Sonitpur, Guwahati, Lakhimpur, Jorhat and Barpeta also have some horns.
A makeshift forensic lab will be set up at the treasuries when the physical verification is carried out to ensure that any doubt is cleared at the spot through necessary tests.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Forest department is contemplating on gifting some of the rhino horns to museums across the world. The fil decision will, however, be taken by the cabinet.
There has been a lot of controversy over the horns kept at the treasuries, with allegations that many of these have gone missing.
Around 50/60 rhinos die of tural causes every year.