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Protecting rhinos top priority: Brahma

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, May 30 - Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma today said that she would start visiting the National Parks and sanctuaries immediately after the Assembly session, which begins on June 1, to assess the situation on the ground so that effective steps can be taken for the improvement of the condition of those.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Brahma admitted that all sections of people of Assam are concerned about poaching of rhinos and protecting the pride of Assam would be the main priority for her. She said that she would visit Kaziranga National Park immediately after the Assembly session and stay there at least for a couple of days to assess the situation on the ground.

Brahma said that during her visit, she would have detailed talks with Forest Department personnel to know their problems and requirements to deal with poachers. She pointed out that cooperation from the people living in the villages around the National Park is a must to deal with poaching and during her visit, she would also have talks with local people to seek their help. The Forest Department would also launch an awareness programme among the people of the locality.

Replying to a question on the creation of a special rhino protection force, Brahma said that the decision to create such a force has already been taken. The process of appointments also started but there were some allegations of political interference during the tenure of the previous government. The matter is now being looked into. But the force would be inducted shortly, she added.

On Manas National Park, the Forest Minister said that there is need for improving the infrastructure of the Park. She revealed that immediately after the election, she visited the Park and saw the situation on the ground. �That was, of course, a personal visit. But we have seen that the watch towers and the camps of forest guards are in very bad shape. There is urgent need for improvement of infrastructure to restore the old glory of Manas,� she said.

The Minister said that the State Government would launch coordinated efforts with the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) for the improvement of Manas.

At the same time, she said that the condition of all the National Parks and sanctuaries would have to be improved.

The Forest Minister admitted that there is urgent need to increase forest cover in the state. Because of destruction of the forests, the man-elephant conflict is increasing day by day and there is need for launching a massive plantation programme in the state immediately, she added.

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Protecting rhinos top priority: Brahma

GUWAHATI, May 30 - Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma today said that she would start visiting the National Parks and sanctuaries immediately after the Assembly session, which begins on June 1, to assess the situation on the ground so that effective steps can be taken for the improvement of the condition of those.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Brahma admitted that all sections of people of Assam are concerned about poaching of rhinos and protecting the pride of Assam would be the main priority for her. She said that she would visit Kaziranga National Park immediately after the Assembly session and stay there at least for a couple of days to assess the situation on the ground.

Brahma said that during her visit, she would have detailed talks with Forest Department personnel to know their problems and requirements to deal with poachers. She pointed out that cooperation from the people living in the villages around the National Park is a must to deal with poaching and during her visit, she would also have talks with local people to seek their help. The Forest Department would also launch an awareness programme among the people of the locality.

Replying to a question on the creation of a special rhino protection force, Brahma said that the decision to create such a force has already been taken. The process of appointments also started but there were some allegations of political interference during the tenure of the previous government. The matter is now being looked into. But the force would be inducted shortly, she added.

On Manas National Park, the Forest Minister said that there is need for improving the infrastructure of the Park. She revealed that immediately after the election, she visited the Park and saw the situation on the ground. �That was, of course, a personal visit. But we have seen that the watch towers and the camps of forest guards are in very bad shape. There is urgent need for improvement of infrastructure to restore the old glory of Manas,� she said.

The Minister said that the State Government would launch coordinated efforts with the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) for the improvement of Manas.

At the same time, she said that the condition of all the National Parks and sanctuaries would have to be improved.

The Forest Minister admitted that there is urgent need to increase forest cover in the state. Because of destruction of the forests, the man-elephant conflict is increasing day by day and there is need for launching a massive plantation programme in the state immediately, she added.