Kaziranga Wildlife Casualty Lower This Year, Claims Parimal Suklabaidya
Not denying the fact that during the annual floods in Assam, wildlife of the state is affected, especially in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve Forest, the state forest and environment minister, Parimal Suklabaidya, talking to G Plus, claimed that this year the casualty is less as compared to previous years.
“The third phase of the flood is ongoing in Kaziranga and till now (25th July) 127 wildlife deaths have been reported whereas last year there were 263 wildlife deaths reported in Kaziranga,” said Suklabaidya.
The minister added that the state government, since 2016, is trying to resolve all the issues of Kaziranga and rhino poaching being one of the most difficult issues is almost resolved as the national park has recorded a significant drop in the number of rhinos that have been poached since 2017.
Talking about the floods the minister said that after taking many precautions and strict vigilance the number of wildlife casualities has also decreased during floods and in the coming days it will further decrease.
“It is not 100% resolved but we are trying our best,” said the minister.
The forest department has created 33 highlands in the reserve forest so that during floods the animals can take shelter there.
He also said that out of 127 deaths this year around 80 cases are because of floods and the others are for various reasons like old age, animal-animal conflict, and many such factors.
As most of the forest area in Assam gets mostly encroached, the minister said that in Kaziranga strict eviction drive was carried out and very less area is encroached as of now.
There is only a 14 square kilometre area in Kaziranga which is encroached out of the total 1,059 square kilometre area which includes the national park and the tiger reserve forest.
As has been reported that many forest officials are involved in corruption which helps the encroachers and smugglers of forest products, the minister said that while the issue is not 100% resolved, action has been taken against many officials.
He said, “The revenue of the forest department has increased from Rs 100 crores to Rs 250 crores and it was possible only after things were put in place and royalty for forest products were legally paid.”
Modern surveillance technology was added and enhanced in Kaziranga for vigilance; as part of the technology-intensive surveillance, drones and advanced patrolling vehicles were provided to forest officials in Kaziranga today.
1,100 posts have also been advertised for personnel in the forest department to be appointed in various capacities and the minister claims that in a few years all the issues of Kaziranga and other forests in Assam will be resolved.