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CM praises forest personnel for safeguarding wildlife

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Oct 6 - Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today praised the services rendered by the Forest personnel in safeguarding the State�s wildlife.

The Chief Minister, who was addressing the function on the occasion of the 62nd Wildlife Week organised by the forest department at Pragjyoti ITA Centre for Performing Arts, said that efforts by the forest department alone would be insufficient to meet the daunting challenge of protecting the flora and fauna and that society as a whole would have to chip in for protecting nature and wildlife habitats.

He particularly emphasised the role that the people living near the forest areas could play in protecting nature and wildlife, and urged them to foil the nefarious designs of illegal loggers, poachers and insurgents.

He also advocated joint training of police and forest personnel to study the topography of forests and for more efficient operation against poachers and insurgents in forest areas.

He asserted that the eviction drive in Kaziranga was successfully carried out to protect the sanctity of the national park and vowed to continue with such eviction drives in future to make all forest areas free from encroachment.

The Chief Minister also exhorted the Assamese community to follow the teachings of saint Srimanta Sankaradeva who put utmost emphasis on compassion to all life forms and on the need for a harmonious man-animal relation.

�It is sad that modern society has failed to understand the importance of Nature for sustenance of human civilisation. Like human beings, animals also seek security and they will settle where they find a favourable environment,� he said, adding that people living near forest areas should refrain from sheltering poachers and from extending them any help.

Expressing his deep concern over the growing incidence of man-animal conflict, the Chief Minister commented that a conducive environment within the forest must be created to ensure safe shelter for animals.

Reiterating the State government�s commitment to protect wildlife and preserve Nature, Sonowal categorically stated that intensive action against poachers would continue and exemplary punishment would be meted out to them.

Dr Bibhuti Prasad Lahkar, who received the IUCN Heritage Hero award for his work in preserving the ecology of the Manas National Park, was also felicitated at the programme. Besides, 36 police personnel, 41 forest guards and two NGOs were also felicitated for their role in safeguarding wildlife.

State Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma, in her address, said that modern lifestyle, industrial growth and smuggling of animal parts had posed a serious threat to the existence of wildlife. �The government has formed a special force to carry out operation against poachers and intensified action has been continued. Eco-development committees have also been formed involving the people living near forest areas to encourage people�s participation in safeguarding wildlife,� she added.

DGP Mukesh Sahay, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Daras Mathur, other PCCFs of the forest department and senior officials were present at the meeting.

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