BARPETA, Sept 23 - The Forest Department has planned to constitute committees by the people of the fringe villages of the reserve forests and sanctuaries to make the conservation effort more fruitful in the State. This was informed by HK Sarma, Field Director of Manas National Park-Cum-Tiger Project.
Narrating about the initiatives, Sarma said that seven committees have already been formed and some others have been proposed. They will be provided an amount of Rs 25 lakh for the utilisation of the conservation process.
Addressing a public meeting at Nehru High School in Samuwa Gati Village near the Bansbari Range of the Manas National Park held on the occasion of the World Rhino Day, Sarma said that the Forest Department has done a lot to preserve the flora and fauna of the State, but it has not been much effective so far.
He refuted the charge levelled by some quarters that the forest officials are engaged in the smuggling of timber. Instead, he attributed the smuggling to the paucity of staff to protect the forest.
Referring to the rhino population in the State, he said that in spite of tremendous challenges from the poachers in the State, this species of mammals is in a healthy position with about 2,500 numbers.
He lamented that though some species of mammoth animals have faced extinction due to natural reason, the rhino is facing similar fate due to man-made reasons. He attributed the unabated killing to superstition of a section of the people all over the world.
Stating that the Himalayan terrain was an abode of rhino once and if the people become aware, the lost glory can be revived even now. Sarma regretted sporadic incidents of harassment to some villagers by the pachyderm and said that proper step would be taken to check recurring of such incident in future.
He requested the people of the neighbouring villages not to treat the Manas National Park as an enemy.
Addressing the meeting � anchored by Sanjib Das, headmaster of Nehru High School � Annada Charan Das said that rhino should be treated as a property and a source of our national pride. He also lamented the incident of killing of a swamp deer in the village a few days ago.
Bubul Nath, secretary of MEWS, an NGO, said that the people have been observing the World Rhino Day on September 22 since 2010 with the objective of focussing on the conservation of this endangered species.
Pallabi Chakrabarty from WWF and several other dignitaries also attended the meet.