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Drones approved for Kaziranga National Park

By Debasish Baruah

KAZIRANGA, Nov 13 - In a significant development, the Government of India has given the green signal to the Kaziranga National Park authorities to fly Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ( drone) over the national park in order to check the activities of antisocial elements including poachers. This was informed by the Additional Director General, Wildlife and Member Secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, (NTCA), Government of India, BS Bonal, at the complex of Forest Convention Center, Kaziranga on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters, Bonal said that all the requisite formalities in this regard including the clearances from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence , Government of India had been completed and very shortly, one can witness the flying of Drone over Kaziranga National Park. He was speaking on the sidelines of the Swachh Bharat Abhijan Mission at Kohora. Bonal informed that with the flying of drones, the menace of poaching in Kaziranga would be greatly checked.

He added that electronic surveillance, also called �e-surveillance� with eight towers is already in place within a 20-km area. These towers have thermal, infrared cameras which would immediately alert the forest staff of Kaziranga, if images of any kind of moving objects are captured by them. This would help the forest staff to take immediate action, as the captured images would be reflected back to a computer at the base office.

When pointed out by this correspondent about the growing conflicts between humans and tigers in various parts of Assam, Bonal said that people must understand the nature and habitat of these tigers, especially leopards and should avoid killing them. He added that the Government would definitely provide due compensation if any cattle or livestock are killed by tigers. He also added that in some cases, mortality of tigers is due to infighting for acquiring individual territory. He said that plastic and polythene must be banned inside protected areas like Kaziranga, suggesting that a local advisory committee may be constituted with the participation of all stakeholders to review and monitor all tourists facilities, noise pollution norms, environment safeguards, etc., within a five-km radius of protected areas.

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