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Centre tells State to raise force

By AJIT PATOWARY
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GUWAHATI, Aug 3 - The Central government has reiterated its request to the State government for raising a special rhino protection force, in line with the Special Tiger Protection Force, for protecting rhinos from poachers. Moreover, it has constituted the Rhino Task Force and this Task Force has submitted its draft report to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

The Central government has assured of 100 per cent assistance for raising the rhino protection force, which will have local recruits.

These disclosures were made by the NTCA in reply to RTI queries made by RTI-cum-environment activist Rohit Choudhury recently.

Interestingly, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar had requested the Union Home Minister, following the former�s visit to the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) and Tiger Reserve last year, to place a CRPF battalion at the disposal of the Field Director, KNP. However, the request was turned down by the Union Home Ministry, stating that forest and wildlife protection is not the CRPF mandate.

Friends of Rhino: The NTCA authorities have formed a core coordination group to carry forward the process of fostering voluntary group � Friends of Rhino � for eliciting active public support for rhino conservation in the localities around the KNP. The core group held two meetings on February 14 and 19 this year. It has identified 33 sensitive villages adjoining KNP Tiger Reserve in the initial stage.

CBI cases: Of the seven cases handed over to the CBI by the State government in connection with the poaching of rhinos in the KNP Tiger Reserve, three have been transferred to the Special Crime Branch of the CBI at Kolkata. Out of the remaining four cases, chargesheets have been prepared in three cases, while closure report has been filed in one case.

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Centre tells State to raise force

GUWAHATI, Aug 3 - The Central government has reiterated its request to the State government for raising a special rhino protection force, in line with the Special Tiger Protection Force, for protecting rhinos from poachers. Moreover, it has constituted the Rhino Task Force and this Task Force has submitted its draft report to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

The Central government has assured of 100 per cent assistance for raising the rhino protection force, which will have local recruits.

These disclosures were made by the NTCA in reply to RTI queries made by RTI-cum-environment activist Rohit Choudhury recently.

Interestingly, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar had requested the Union Home Minister, following the former�s visit to the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) and Tiger Reserve last year, to place a CRPF battalion at the disposal of the Field Director, KNP. However, the request was turned down by the Union Home Ministry, stating that forest and wildlife protection is not the CRPF mandate.

Friends of Rhino: The NTCA authorities have formed a core coordination group to carry forward the process of fostering voluntary group � Friends of Rhino � for eliciting active public support for rhino conservation in the localities around the KNP. The core group held two meetings on February 14 and 19 this year. It has identified 33 sensitive villages adjoining KNP Tiger Reserve in the initial stage.

CBI cases: Of the seven cases handed over to the CBI by the State government in connection with the poaching of rhinos in the KNP Tiger Reserve, three have been transferred to the Special Crime Branch of the CBI at Kolkata. Out of the remaining four cases, chargesheets have been prepared in three cases, while closure report has been filed in one case.