Assam CM calls for measures to protect wildlife in Kaziranga National Park in flood season

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Guwahati, May 27 (PTI) Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday ordered officials to immediately notify the Special Task Force for the Kaziranga National Park (KNP), famed for one-horned rhinoceros, for protection of the wildlife during the coming flood season.

A large part of Assam's geographical area is prone to deluge and more than one wave of flood ravage this zone almost every year.

Reviewing the flood preparedness and animal safety with officials at the KNP, Sarma also advocated measures for improving the living conditions of the personnel of the Assam Forest Protection Force.

The force was set up decades ago for better protection and security of the forests, forest produces and the wildlife of the state.

'Underlining the need for coordinated efforts for wildlife protection, the Chief Minister directed to immediately notify the Special Task Force for KNP under the chairmanship of Special DGP, including officials from Majuli district,' an official release said.

To make the forest force more empowered, Sarma ordered an increase of sophisticated weapons for it, besides providing satellite phones to anti-poaching camps.

'Moreover, to boost up wildlife protection at KNP, Sarma asked Home Department to create one post each of Additional SP and DSP under the control of SP Golaghat with clear mandate to serve for the protection of wildlife at the park besides filling up the post of DSP, KNP,' it added.

The chief minister also asked the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) to tie up with Mandakata Commando Training Centre of the Assam Police for training of forest personnel and told him to make the Wildlife Health and Research Institute functional soon, apart from improving relationships between local people and the forest force.

'The Chief Minister directed to increase ration allowances of the forest force engaged in wildlife protection from the existing Rs 840 to Rs 2,000. He also asked to take up modernisation of anti-poaching camps located within KNP to boost up morale of the staff,' the release said.

Sarma further instructed the officials concerned to expeditiously define the elephant corridor at KNP and implement it early, besides settling the issue of rehabilitation grant to be paid to the families evicted from revenue villages under the KNP, it added.

In view of the coming flood season and its consequent impact on the wildlife of the Park, the chief minister took a comprehensive review of flood preparedness and animal safety as well as security with deputy commissioners, SPs, officials of forest and veterinary department of Golaghat, Nagaon, Sonitpur, Biswanath and Karbi Anglong districts.

He asked the Forest Department to submit a proposal regarding development of highlands, where animals can take shelter during floods, besides telling the KNP director to ensure supply of concentrated feed along with green fodder to the marooned animals.

To intensify anti-poaching activities at the park, he directed the authorities to take urgent steps to expedite justice delivery system against arrested poachers, against whom chargesheets have been filed by engaging a special prosecutor, and asked the PCCF to monitor the process every month.

Asking the DCs to ensure complete COVID-19 vaccination of all forest personnel engaged in frontline duty, the chief minister directed the Finance and Forest Departments to ensure early release of ex-gratia to the families of deceased forest personnel.

He also asked the veterinary department to complete vaccination of cattle before the onset of the monsoon besides ensuring availability of doctors for immediate service at the Park. PTI TR NN NN