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Severe manpower crunch hits Amchang WLS

By AJIT PATOWARY

GUWAHATI, Nov 28 - The Guwahati Wildlife Division of the Forest Department has been left with a nominal manpower strength of only 65, which is not enough to patrol and man the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS), besides checking elephant depredation in Narengi Army Station (NAS) and round-the-clock patrolling on the rail track at Panikhaiti and Panbari. Amchang WLS is divided into two blocks with porous boundary and it has very tough undulating terrain with an area of 78.64 sq kms.

This problem has ostensibly emerged due to a decision of the State Forest Department to deploy only Guwahati Wildlife Division personnel for monitoring the movement of wild elephants and to take necessary action for preventing the pachyderms from straying into urban areas and causing depredations in the NAS areas, by keeping its Kamrup East Division out of consideration in this regard.

Again, fast growing human habitation in the NAS areas, Amching Jorabat and Amching NC, has led to increased wild elephant- human interaction in these areas. It needs mention here that Amchang elephants use to move between Block-I and Block-II of the WLS using the NAS area as corridor as well as habitat.

In fact, though the Guwahati Wildlife Division has the manpower strength of 242, including the casual workers, home guards, ministerial staff and officers, 122 of them have been posted in Pobitora Wildlife Range.

Again, 12 of them are on deputation to the Office of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of the Forest Force (PCCF and HoFF) and the PCCF (Wildlife). In all, 18 of them are posted at the Division Headquarters. The rest 90, including three RFOs and nine female forest personnel, are to man the Amchang, Deepor Beel WLSs, patrol the rail track near Deepor Beel, Panikhaiti and Panbari areas and NAS area, despite all these areas located outside this Division�s jurisdiction.

Finally, with 65 personnel left with it, this Wildlife Division is made to manage the patrolling etc., in the Amchang WLS, to check elephant depredation in the NAS area and to patrol the rail track at Panikhaiti and Panbari.

These facts have come to light from the May 22, 2020 letter (No. A/GWL/HEC/Narangi Army area/2020/702) of the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Guwahati Wildlife Division to the PCCF (WL) and Chief Wildlife Warden of the State. It has been obtained by RTI-cum-environment activist Rohit Choudhury through an RTI application.

In the letter, the DFO said The departmental orders Nos. 387 dated May 26, 2019 and 388 dated May 27, 2019 constituting three teams with five to six field staffs in each of them, requisitioning personnel from the three ranges of Guwahati Wildlife Division and one team comprising veterinary doctors and the honorary wildlife warden for the above mentioned purposes, have affected field patrolling duty inside Amchang WLS by its personnel under Amchang and Khanapara Wildlife Ranges.

Besides, even after regular patrolling duty by these teams, elephant depredation in NAS area and city�s Panjabari, Satgaon, Batahghuli areas is increasing every day and becoming difficult to handle, the DFO said.

He suggested establishment of a well-equipped Forest Camp near Panjabari side of the NAS gate under the Department�s Kamrup East Division, making DFO Kamrup East Division accountable for monitoring and tackling wild elephant movement, depredation and straying into city areas etc., as Panjabari, Batahghuli, Satgaon etc., areas fall under that Division�s jurisdiction, besides revocation of the May 26 and 27, 2019 orders.

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Severe manpower crunch hits Amchang WLS

GUWAHATI, Nov 28 - The Guwahati Wildlife Division of the Forest Department has been left with a nominal manpower strength of only 65, which is not enough to patrol and man the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS), besides checking elephant depredation in Narengi Army Station (NAS) and round-the-clock patrolling on the rail track at Panikhaiti and Panbari. Amchang WLS is divided into two blocks with porous boundary and it has very tough undulating terrain with an area of 78.64 sq kms.

This problem has ostensibly emerged due to a decision of the State Forest Department to deploy only Guwahati Wildlife Division personnel for monitoring the movement of wild elephants and to take necessary action for preventing the pachyderms from straying into urban areas and causing depredations in the NAS areas, by keeping its Kamrup East Division out of consideration in this regard.

Again, fast growing human habitation in the NAS areas, Amching Jorabat and Amching NC, has led to increased wild elephant- human interaction in these areas. It needs mention here that Amchang elephants use to move between Block-I and Block-II of the WLS using the NAS area as corridor as well as habitat.

In fact, though the Guwahati Wildlife Division has the manpower strength of 242, including the casual workers, home guards, ministerial staff and officers, 122 of them have been posted in Pobitora Wildlife Range.

Again, 12 of them are on deputation to the Office of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of the Forest Force (PCCF and HoFF) and the PCCF (Wildlife). In all, 18 of them are posted at the Division Headquarters. The rest 90, including three RFOs and nine female forest personnel, are to man the Amchang, Deepor Beel WLSs, patrol the rail track near Deepor Beel, Panikhaiti and Panbari areas and NAS area, despite all these areas located outside this Division�s jurisdiction.

Finally, with 65 personnel left with it, this Wildlife Division is made to manage the patrolling etc., in the Amchang WLS, to check elephant depredation in the NAS area and to patrol the rail track at Panikhaiti and Panbari.

These facts have come to light from the May 22, 2020 letter (No. A/GWL/HEC/Narangi Army area/2020/702) of the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Guwahati Wildlife Division to the PCCF (WL) and Chief Wildlife Warden of the State. It has been obtained by RTI-cum-environment activist Rohit Choudhury through an RTI application.

In the letter, the DFO said The departmental orders Nos. 387 dated May 26, 2019 and 388 dated May 27, 2019 constituting three teams with five to six field staffs in each of them, requisitioning personnel from the three ranges of Guwahati Wildlife Division and one team comprising veterinary doctors and the honorary wildlife warden for the above mentioned purposes, have affected field patrolling duty inside Amchang WLS by its personnel under Amchang and Khanapara Wildlife Ranges.

Besides, even after regular patrolling duty by these teams, elephant depredation in NAS area and city�s Panjabari, Satgaon, Batahghuli areas is increasing every day and becoming difficult to handle, the DFO said.

He suggested establishment of a well-equipped Forest Camp near Panjabari side of the NAS gate under the Department�s Kamrup East Division, making DFO Kamrup East Division accountable for monitoring and tackling wild elephant movement, depredation and straying into city areas etc., as Panjabari, Batahghuli, Satgaon etc., areas fall under that Division�s jurisdiction, besides revocation of the May 26 and 27, 2019 orders.

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