GUWAHATI, Aug 24 � Expressing concern over the unabated poaching of rhinos in the State, especially in the Kaziranga National Park, as also the rampant destruction of other forest wealth, public activist Prof Deven Dutta has questioned the rationale behind Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain�s continuance as the head of the Department of Forest and Environment.
In a statement, Prof Dutta said that rhinos apart, many other wildlife, including lesser animals and birds were bearing the brunt of the illegal trade in wildlife body parts with the Forest Department exhibiting incompetence to curb the menace.
�Large-scale encroachment, illegal logging and killing of wildlife have been unabated in the State. The drastic reduction in forest areas has been singularly responsible for the worsening man-animal conflict. Cases of downright poaching apart, elephants and leopards are being killed as a matter of routine under the pretext of their straying to human settlements. Actually, the straying animals are being killed because of people�s greed for animal meat, or else, why the meat of the slain animal is invariably shared by the killers?� Prof Dutta said.
Prof Dutta, who is also a member of the State Audit Advisory Board, said that the annual CAG reports were laying bare the widespread corruption in the Rural Development Department. �But in spite of all this, it is totally incomprehensible why the Rural Development Minister (who also happens to be the Forest Minister) has remained a blue-eyed boy of the Chief Minister,� he added.