GUWAHATI: Stung by opposition parties’ criticism following deaths of rare one-horned rhinos in the Kaziranga National park, a world heritage site, the Assam government on Tuesday decided to rush a 100-member team of the elite Assam Forest Protection Force (AFPF) for its protection.
“A 50-member AFPF team has already left on Tuesday while another 50 members will be despatched before Oct.6,” Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain told reporters.
Confirming that 39 rhinos were killed — 11 by poachers and 28 due to flood — this year, he said the rhino population had increased in Kaziranga tremendously for which the “endangered” tag have been officially removed for them.
However, Hussain said the number of rhinos have risen to 2,505 in the state at present and 2,290 in Kaziranga alone because of better forest management.
“The AGP and BJP are raking up the issue of bad forest management which will harm the prestige of the park which is a pride for the people of Assam,” Hussain said.
He denied charges of AGP and BJP that illegal migrants are being helped by the government to settle inside the buffer zone of the park to increase the Congress’ vote bank.
Press Trust of India