GUWAHATI, Sept 7 - The Government of India will provide funds and other logistic support for raising a special Rhino Protection Force in Assam to deal with rhino poaching. Meanwhile, the government is also seeking the help of the Interpol to deal with the problem as the main market of rhino horns is abroad.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Additional Director General (Wild Life) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, BS Bonal said the Government of India would provide the funds for raising the Force in the line of Tiger Protection Force along with other logistic support like weapons. Though he refused to divulge the details of the kind of weapons to be provided to the personnel of the force, he said that different kinds of �authorised weapons� would be provided. At the same time, he admitted that 303 rifles are outdated and those would not be used by the Force.
Bonal revealed that the force would be headed by an officer of the rank of ACF and it would have 112 personnel including a quick reaction team, which would rush to any place whenever necessary. The Government of Assam, on its part, would have to arrange for proper training of the personnel of the Force. He expressed the hope that raising of the new Force would give a big boost to rhino protection measures in Kaziranga National Park.
On the other assistance provided by the Government of India for rhino protection, Bonal revealed that the Centre is providing funds for setting up new anti-poaching camps and for the development of the villages in the fringe of the National Park as the assistance of the common people is the key to checking poaching. He said that on its part, the State Government would have to ensure that the money provided by the Centre reaches the field on time.
Bonal said that as per the rules, the concerned State Governments can form a foundation in the Tiger Conservation areas, where the revenue generated from tourism is kept so that the money can be ploughed back for the development and conservation of the habitats. As Kaziranga is also considered as a habitat of tigers, such a foundation is also created there and in emergency situation, that money can be used without waiting for Government sanctions.
The Government of India has also instructed that eco-development committees should be formed in the villages located on the fringe areas of the National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries, while tourism should be regulated to ensure that the conservation works are not affected.
Bonal revealed that as the main market of rhino horns is abroad and there have been instances where even the poachers fled to foreign countries, the Government of India has sought the help of the Interpol to deal with the problem. The efforts have started yielding results as a number of persons involved in poaching and clandestine trading of rhino horn were apprehended abroad with the help of the Interpol and brought back to India to face trial.
The ADG, Wild Life, further pointed out that there is need for proper synergy between the Forest Department, law enforcing agencies and even the paramilitary forces engaged in guarding the international borders of the country to deal with the problem of poaching and the Wild Life Crime Control Bureau can assist the other agencies in investigating such crimes. He also said that once a person involved in poaching is caught, efforts should be made to ensure proper investigation so that the kingpins can be brought to book.