The Assam government is thinking of giving preference to youths who live near Kaziranga in forest department jobs to curb poaching at the national park.
Assam forest minister Rakibul Hussain announced this in the Assembly today in reply to a starred question by Bokakhat legislator Arun Phukan.
Hussain, however, added that all vacancies in the forest department had not been filled up because of the government’s restrictions on fresh recruitment.
By involving the people living around the park, the government hopes to enlist their support in their fight against poachers — many of whom are believed to live in the vicinity of the park.
The rise in rhino poaching in the state has forced the government to think out of the box. Already 40 rhinos have fallen prey to poachers this year (up to December 18). In the last 10 years, 156 rhinos have been killed in the state.
The minister said other steps, such as reorganisation of the national park by creating four new wildlife divisions and putting up electric fences, were also being taken up.
From 2006 to November 29 this year, 84 persons involved in rhino poaching have been arrested and they are currently undergoing trial, Hussain said.
In his reply to another question raised by AGP legislator Bhupen Roy, the minister said poachers had killed 27 elephants in the state from 2001 to December 15 this year.
According to him, the highest number of elephants — four — were killed in 2012.
From 2007 till November 2013, 480 persons have lost their lives to elephant depredation, Hussain said in his response to a question by AGP MLA Padma Hazarika. The government has compensated 440 families that have suffered from man-elephant conflict.
The most number of people killed in man-elephant conflict in a single year was 84 in 2009-10.
The winter session of the Assam Assembly, which began on December 16, was adjourned sine die today.