Assam: 11 rhino poachers killed, 20 arrested in 2015

Assam: 11 rhino poachers killed, 20 arrested in 2015

GUWAHATI: The government has revealed that 11 rhino poachers have been killed in separate encounters while 20 of them were arrested in Kaziranga Tiger reserve in Assam this year.

Replying to a question in Lok Sabha, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said in 2014, 22 rhino poachers were killed in encounters while 47 of them were arrested.

Till April 30 this year, nine rhinos have been killed in comparison to 27 killed in 2014, he said.

Noting that the enforcement of wildlife laws at the field level is undertaken by the relevant authorities of the state, Javadekar said that seven rhino poaching cases have been transferred to CBI by the state government for investigation.

Elaborating about the measures taken to protect rhinos in Kaziranga, Javadekar said that the Kaziranga National Park has been declared as Tiger reserve and central assistance is provided for intensive protection and conservation.

He said that Rhino Protection Force has also been created and deployed by recruiting local youths with 100 percent central assistance while 24X7 electronic surveillance system has also been installed.

The minister said that a Rhino Task Force to suggest measures for strengthening rhino conservation in Kaziranga has been formed while a health insurance scheme for forest guards is being supported.

He said that a voluntary group known as "friends of rhinos" with active local participation has also been formed.

Replying to another question, he said that the government has received proposal for forest and wildlife clearances of 83.777 ha of forest land for East-West corridor project, a part falling under the Borail Wildlife Sanctuary.

He said that proposal of 24.1268 ha requiring wildlife clearance was recommended by the standing committee of National Board of Wildlife in its 32nd meeting held in January this year.

The proposal will require approval of Supreme Court before it is considered by his Ministry for granting approval under the Forest Conservation Act 1980, Javadekar said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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