Rhino poaching has attained alarming proportions in Assam, but what is even more alarming is the lack of concern on the part of the State Government, which has remained a silent spectator to the wanton killing of the rhinos and other wildlife.Flaying the State Government over the spurt in rhino poaching in the past few years, public activist Prof Deven Dutta today said that not just poaching of rhinos but killing of many other wildlife such as leopards, lesser cats, etc., had attained serious dimensions due to the apathy of the Forest Department and the State Government.
“All over the State, there has been wanton decimation of wildlife and destruction of forests with the government authorities choosing to look the other way. Both Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi owe the people a lot of explanation. Poaching and killing of wildlife has reached unprecedented levels but more shocking and alarming has been the State Government’s inertia and insensitivity,” Prof Dutta said.
Prof Dutta said that while poaching of rhinos understandably hogged media limelight, killing of other fauna such as leopards, elephants, river dolphins and other lesser animals and birds – and rampant encroachment and illegal logging on prime forestland – were matters of even greater concern.
“The way forests are disappearing, long-term survival of all wildlife is jeopardized. Encroachment, tree-felling, illegal furniture houses, illegal stone quarries and sand mines are flourishing under the very nose of the authorities,” he added.
Prof Dutta said that matters stood worsened by some organizations’ instigation for encroachment under the pretext of ‘land rights’ for the ‘landless.’
“Killing of wildlife and destruction of forests will lead to irreversible fallouts on diverse fronts that will severely impact people in the long run. This is among the gravest issues confronting the State today but the Chief Minister is maintaining an inscrutable silence,” he said.