Relief for Indian rhino: Assam to appoint Forest battalion to combat poaching in Kaziranga National Park

State chief minister inspects wildlife area ahead of 'scientifically increasing manpower deployment' from May 10 to strengthen protection of the endangered species


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Published: Sun 16 Apr 2023, 9:13 PM

The government of the eastern Indian state of Assam will appoint a Forest battalion and many foresters from May 10 to strengthen security and speed up anti-poaching measures in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, one of the last refuges — and the biggest — of the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros.

Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Assam state, made an announcement to this effect on Sunday.

"We will appoint one Forest battalion and many foresters on May 10. Today I visited the park and inspected on ground how to scientifically increase manpower deployment in Kaziranga. After a long time today I visited the Kaziranga National Park," Sarma said.

The Assam chief minister on Sunday travelled inside the Kaziranga National Park to personally assess various measures undertaken to eliminate poaching.

"I visited the area where one rhino was poached recently and the areas where there is no forest camp," he said.

Sarma specially visited vulnerable zones on the banks of the Brahmaputra river that flows through the reserve forest and interacted with forest guards at camps and other officials.

Talking about the recent rhino poaching incident in the national park, Sarma said that the rhino horn has recovered.

"The poacher fled. Today I heard that one dead body was found but police have yet to confirm whether the body is of the poacher. But we recovered the rhino horn immediately. We will have to increase river patrolling in the park. I will again visit Kaziranga along with the DGP. There are a few gap areas in the park and to solve the problem we will have to fill up those areas, including increasing river patrolling," he said.

Talking about the construction of an elevated corridor in Kaziranga National Park, the Assam Chief Minister said that the matter is now with the National Wildlife Board for clearance.

Further, talking on the Mega Bihu (seasonal festival and traditional dance) programme held on April 13 and 14 in state capital Guwahati, the Assam chief minister said that that was a pride moment for the people of Assam because the photos of the Bihu dance performed by over 11,000 dancers and drummers were published around the world.

"People have been talking about Bihu on social media, especially on Bihu dance. This time I have received more Bihu greetings from outside of Assam. It is our endeavour to bring forward the resources of Assam gradually and I have several other aims. The Bihuwatis and Bihuas (dancers) have now reached their homes and in May our ministers will meet them and take part in a dinner with them. We will give the money to them that our government has announced. I will also visit 4-5 districts and meet them," Sarma said.

As a mark of gratitude, the Assam government has announced a grant of Rs.25,000 to each of over 11,000 participants of the Mega Bihu programme, along with the master trainers and reserve dancers.


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