Special force soon to protect rhinos in Kaziranga

CM announces slew of conservation measures, to seek PSU funds


GUWAHATI, January 30:  Grappling with the mece of rhino poaching, the State government will soon raise a special force to protect the endangered animal in Kaziranga tiol Park.

The move, according to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, will strengthen the conservation efforts of the great one–horned rhinoceros in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The force, to be med ‘Rhino Protection Force’, will comprise of 1,200 personnel (one battalion) and will be raised soon.

Attending a review meeting on anti–poaching measures and other related issues at Kohora Range of Kaziranga tiol Park yesterday, the Chief Minister said that his government has already sent a proposal in this regard to the Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and the force will take shape very soon.

Lauding the untiring efforts of the field staff in protection of Kaziranga, the Chief Minister said that modern technology will be vigorously used to curb the mece of poaching. He also suggested a slew of measures to be taken up by the Forest Department, the Park authorities and the concerned District Administration for protection of the World Heritage Site.

For upgrading anti–poaching infrastructure, high end equipment such as night vision devices, thermal scanners, surveillance cameras, GPS etc. will be deployed at the earliest, the Chief Minister assured, adding that funds will not be a constraint for protection of the rhino.

The Chief Minister also directed the district administrations (gaon and Golaghat) to sanitize the bordering areas adjoining the Kaziranga tiol Park by deploying young and energetic commando personnel. He announced that Chief Minister’s Gallantry Award will be instituted for security guards showing exemplary courage in anti–poaching operations.

He also asked the park authorities to take the help of the tiol Investigating Agency to deal with rhino poachers and bust their trade routes across inter–state and intertiol borders. Direction has also been given to erect watch posts in vulnerable areas and put to use modern surveillance equipment including high surveillance cameras, to check intrusion of poachers and monitor the park boundary in sensitive areas such as Agoratoli and Burapahar.

Chief Minister Gogoi further said that he is already in touch with several public sector undertakings for getting corporate social responsibilities funding for modernization of anti–poaching infrastructure in the park. He directed the Kaziranga tiol Park Director to prepare suitable project proposals for the same.

He said that the government will provide modern arms and fighting gear to front line forest guards in Kaziranga, by amending the existing legal provisions. He also assured to take up the matter of flying UAVs for aerial surveillance in Kaziranga tiol Park with the Ministry of Defence and the DG, Civil Aviation.

He further announced that a Development Authority for Kaziranga Landscape will soon be constituted under his chairmanship to address comprehensively the issues of conservation and development.

Chief Minister Gogoi also announced that the Chief Minister’s Awards for Wildlife Conservation will be instituted from this year for exemplary services rendered in wildlife conservation and anti poaching activities.

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