NEW DELHI, Jan 3 � In what can be interpreted as a snub to the Tarun Gogoi government�s failure to check killing of rhinos in Assam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, describing the one-horned endangered species as a national asset, said that every effort should be made to protect it.
�Rhino is a national asset. Every effort should be made and will be made to protect this precious animal,� the Prime Minister said.
The words should be a source of concern for the Assam government because it is the same Prime Minister, who a couple of years back lauding the State government�s conservation initiative, recommended reintroduction of the Project Tiger in Kaziranga National Park. An estimated 34 rhinos were killed in the State by poachers.
Asked about delays in execution of projects in the region, the Prime Minister said, �I think fencing and some of these other projects have been facing some difficulties, because of difficulties of terrain.�
Addressing a press conference, his third in 10 years, Singh said that the north-eastern region, which he represents in Parliament, has become more peaceful and developed.
�The internal security situation in the north-eastern States has improved considerably with a steep decline in the extremist-related violent incidents.
�Major extremist groups are engaged in peaceful dialogue and many of them have joined the political mainstream of the region,� Dr Singh said. This has also become possible due to several developmental activities taken up by the UPA government in past 10 years, he said.