GUWAHATI, Oct 19 - The half-a-decade-old plea of the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) authorities to raise its staff strength has remained unheeded. This has come to light with the reply of the KNP authorities to an RTI application filed by RTI-cum-environment activist Rohit Choudhury recently.
The KNP authorities pleaded before the State government that it needs the number of its Assistant Conservators of Forest increased to look after anti-poaching activities, eco-development programmes in the fringe villages, management of man-animal conflict, protection of strayed animals, management of tourism and VIPs in five ranges and beat areas, to supervise research activities done by different researchers, NGOs, etc., in addition to other normal office duties.
The KNP authorities also pleaded that the frontline staff from the Deputy Ranger to Forest Guard and Game Watchers also need to be increased for the purpose of performing anti-poaching/patrolling, etc., duties more effectively in the hazardous situation inside the park, to enable effective two-shift duties daily for the efficient management of the park operation and ensuring good physical condition of the staff, to enable the frontline staff to enjoy leave at the time of their utmost need, to perform anti-depredation duties in the fringe areas, particularly in the southern border of the park and in the Karbi Anglong foothills, to protect migrating animals during the flood season, among others.
The KNP authorities in its above plea to the State government stated that it is very difficult to perform the above mentioned duties squarely with the existing inadequate strength of the park staff.
They said the existing strength of the ministerial and executive staff of the park is 467, against the sanctioned posts of 561. The number of these staff should be raised to 1,587 for the above reasons. Thus, there is a need to appoint 1,120 additional staff, including filling up the existing vacancies, in the park, said the KNP authorities.