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3:00:17 am 12-July-2017
Kaziranga, 10th Jul (northeastnews): Kaziranga National Park, pride of Assam has been more in the news for negative reasons like large scale poaching etc than for anything good but for the last one year or so things are looking up as relatively poaching has come down drastically like 4 during the past eight months as compared to 14 in the same period before that, informed Assam Forest minister Promila Rani Brahma.
Primila Rani Brahma in an exclusive interview to www.northeastnews.in during a visit to the flood ravaged National Park informed that though the basic security of the National Park will be manned by forest guards through 180 camps spread in five ranges of National Park in 1038 square kilometers of its area but now they are also deploying new technology to keep an "Eye on KNP" using at least 15 solar powered Electronic Eyes which is capable of round the clock vigil in a radius of around 5 kms which can detect movement of men and animals too and it is being monitored from control room round the clock.
The Forest Minister informed that the Electronic Eyes are expansive costing at least 80 to 85 lakhs each but seeing the importance of the National Park they already have installed 7 such Eyes and more have been ordered which will be soon installed covering most venerable areas of Kaziranga National Park, thus enabling them to keep track of any suspicious movement in the Park.
Brahma said due to security reasons the 4 Corps Head Quarter had not allowed the use of drones for keeping vigilance from the air as they feared the terrorists could also use such equipment for attacks and intelligence gathering but now the issue has been resolved and Army has allowed them the use of drones with the condition that whenever they use drones the Army authorities in Tezpur will be informed so they have decided to go for it as the drones now can be used at night also when the sky is clear.
Use of Electronic Eyes and Drones has been backed by use of high speed boats which can be used for reaching any place at the earliest thus helping combat the menace of poaching in the prestigious National Park.
She said though they have decided to equip the Forest guards with latest AK serried weapons too but due to short supply from the manufacturers they have not been able to equip them so far but they have been assured delivery of at least 50 such arms by end of August thus giving them an edge over the poachers with better surveillance, speed and equipment.
The Forest minister however said the role of human beings has been most important as the motivated Forest officers and guards coupled with good village level intelligence network has been largely responsible for bringing down the number of Rhino killings.
On the question of floods and safety of animals the Forest Minister said no new high grounds were made during the 15 years of previous government and those made during AGP regime have also been reduced in height now they have decided to make new nigh grounds and raise the height of existing ones after the monsoon season.
While visiting some of the Camps which are surrounded by flood waters like Murphuloni Camp and Borbeel camp she informed that the Guards are being provided subsidised ration and officers keep visiting them to keep them in high moral are preparedness with solar equipment and chargers, now they plan to have some solar pumps too for lifting water to their camps when the ground is under flood waters.
Park Director S N Singh informed that they also have plans to introduce night vision devices equipped with thermal imaging facilities which can detect human movement from far even at night and they can take preventive action too.
Singh said though they are beginning to use high tech equipment for surveillance but the role of human beings still remains most important be it for gaining intelligence inputs or for actual engaging with the poachers.
Rohini Saikia KNP DFO giving details of the area under flood this year informed that almost 65% of the National Park area is under water but ranges like Northern range and Boora Pahar Range almost 80% area is under water while Kohra Range is least affected with almost 40% of its area under water.
Meanwhile the hundreds of forest guards who are cut off from mainland during floods told this correspondent that drinking water is their major problem specially during floods and they also felt that during floods if the camps are given LPG it can help them in a big way.

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