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Gogoi moots special Rhino Protection Force to tackle poaching

                                                                                                                                         The Hindu, Guwahati, 30th January, 2015

The Assam Chief Minister asked the Kaziranga Park to seek NIA help to deal with Rhino poachers

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has asked the authorities of Kaziranga National Park to take the help of the National Investigating Agency to deal with the rhino poachers and bust their trade routes across inter-state and international borders. He also said that a special Rhino Protection Force with strength of 1200 personnel would soon take shape and his government had already sent a proposal to Ministry for Environment, Forest Climate Change in that regard.

Mr Gogoi said this during a review meeting on the anti-poaching measures and other related issues at Kohora Range of the national Park on Thursday. He also directed concerned district administrations to sanitize the bordering areas adjoining the park—a world heritage site famous for one-horned rhinoceros--by deploying young and energetic commando force, stated an official release issued here on Friday.

 Forest officials stand near the body of a one-horned rhinoceros that was killed and de-horned by poachers in the Kaziranga National Park. PTI

Earlier, in September 2014 Mr Javadekar during his visit to the state announced the decision to raise a special rhino protection force. He also said that the Centre would request the Central Bureau of investigation to expand scope of its ongoing probe into rhino poaching incidents in the national park by including more cases and also fast track it. Poachers have so far killed four rhinos of the national park since the beginning of the year.

The Chief Minister said at the review meeting that the government would provide modern arms and fighting gears to the front line forest guards in Kaziranga, by amending the existing provisions of law. He also assured to take up the matter of deploying drone for anti-poaching measures in Kaziranga National Park with the Ministry of Defence and the Director General, Civil Aviation. Several test flights of a remote-controlled hobby flying model of a drone were successfully conducted in the national park in April, 2013. Mr Gogoi announced that Chief Minister's Awards for Wildlife Conservation would be instituted from the current year for exemplary services rendered in wildlife conservation and anti poaching activities. He also announced that Chief Minister's Gallantry Award would be instituted for the security guards for showing exemplary services on anti poaching.

The Chief Minister also announced that a Development Authority for the Kaziranga Landscape under his Chairmanship would be constituted to address comprehensively the issues of the conservation and development of Kaziranga landscape. Mr Gogoi told the meeting that he was already in touch with several public sector undertakings for getting corporate social responsibilities funding or modernization of anti-poaching infrastructure in the Park and directed the park Director M. K. Yadava to prepare suitable project proposals.

Member of Lok Sabha from Kaliabor constituency Gaurav Gogoi, who was also present in the review meeting, said that an Integrated Tourism Plan would be drawn for Kaziranga and the adjoining areas involving the Forest, Tourism, Cultural Affairs Departments and the District Administration. He also said that a Master Plan for erosion control of Kaziranga would be drawn up using expertise from the Water Resources Department and for executing it in phases starting from most vulnerable areas such as Agoratoli and Arimora. Deputy Commissioner, Golaghat Nitin Khade and Superintendent of Police, Golaghat P.P. Singh were among others present in the meeting.