Rhinos unsafe in Kaziranga: Environment Minister

Rhinos unsafe in Kaziranga: Environment Minister

GUWAHATI: Union Environment minister Prakash Javadekar accused the Assam government of doing little to ensure safety of rhinos in Kaziranga. To resolve man-animal conflict, the Centre has released funds for a rhino protection force.

Briefing newsmen in Guwahati, the Union forest minister said that, "the State government has failed to act properly. I talked to Tarun Gogoi but of no avail."

A large number of vacancies are there within the Rhino Protection Force, local youths will be recruited and the State government has to fill up the vacancies, but was not done. I have written two letters to chief minister Tarun Gogoi," added Javadekar.

The Union forest minister said that, at least 100 local youths could not have been involved to protect the one horn rhino in the World heritage site, blaming the State government for their laxative attitude.

On poaching of rhinos in KNP, he said, "Illegal trade (of rhino horn) has to be stopped. There is an anti-poaching drive. Though 24 rhinos were poached and killed which included 24 poachers."

On man-animal conflict, Javadekar said there would be special provisions in the budget for augmentation of fodder and water for the animals so that they do not come out of their habitats.

"We will release the funds already sanctioned. The 14th Finance Commission has increased the weightage up to 7.5 per cent of the funds for forest protection," he added.

"Now new budget heads will be created for augmentation of fodder and water within the sanctuaries. People residing in the sanctuaries can also voluntarily leave and the spots from where animals come out can be fenced, trenches dug and people living around conflict areas educated," he added.

(Agencies)

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