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Assam CM Discusses Anti-Poaching Measures In Kaziranga

....Pitches for keeping the National Park open for eight months
By Hemanta Kumar Nath
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Guwahati, August 25: In a move to increase tourists’ footfalls in the world’s famous one-horned rhino habitat the Kaziranga National Park, steps have been initiated for keeping the Park open for the tourists for eight months instead of the existing six months on an experimental basis.

Convening a meeting with the civil, police and forest administration officials of Golaghat and Nagaon districts at Kohora in Golaghat on Thursday to review the safety mechanism put in place in the Kaziranga National Park for the rhinos and other animals, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal asked the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Daresh Mathur for keeping the park open for eight months for tourists on an experimental basis.

In line with the directive from the Assam CM, the Kaziranga National Park henceforth will remain open for eight months beginning October 1 to 31 May every year.

Expressing concern over repeated instances of rhino poaching, Sonowal said that there must be an increased synergy between the Police and Forest Administration to thwart any attempt by the poachers.

"People living in fringes can also provide valuable inputs towards tackling the menace of rhino poaching. The combined efforts of all put together can make the World Heritage Site a safe habitat for rhinos,” Sonowal said.

Moreover, the Assam CM also asked the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to give preference to the youths of 33 fringe villages of Kaziranga for different forest related employments.

In view of the alleged reports that contractual workers eventually provide potential information to the poachers, Sonowal directed the Forest Department to assess the antecedents of the contractual workers engaged in different works in the Kaziranga National Park and give them photo identity cards.

The Assam CM also asked the PCCF to enhance Forest Camps on the periphery of the National Park to keep constant vigil on the movements of the poachers.

In order to mobilise people to create a deterrent against poaching, Sonowal also said that the Government would confer awards to those people for dedicatedly rendering their services against poaching.

Earlier, the Assam CM paid a visit to the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation located in Borjuri adjacent to Panbari Reserve Forest and took stock of the health of the rhinos calves rescued during the torrential flood.

Minister for Animal Husbandry and Veterinar Atul Bora, Science and Technology Minister Keshab Mahanta, Chief Minister’s Media Advisor Hrishikesh Goswami, DC and of Golaghat Varnali Deka and Prithvi Pal Singh, SDO (C), Bokakhat Nawab Al Azhar Ali, DC and SP of Nagaon Adil Khan and Y.T. Gyatso, PCCF Daresh Mathur and other police and forest officials were present at the meeting.