Assam CM toughens measures to check rhinos' poaching

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday asked the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police to take all possible measures to protect the one-horned rhinos. The Chief Minister held a high-level meeting with the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police of Jorhat, Golaghat and Nagaon districts that encircle the National Park at Kaziranga, and asked them to make every effort to protect the rhinos from the poachers. "Whatever measures need to be undertaken will be adopted for protecting the rhinos and Kaziranga National Park, the World Heritage site. We will take advice from international experts on protection of rhinos," Sonowal said, appealing to everyone to protect the rhinos.  "To save the pride of Assam, we will extend all possible support to you to stop it from extinction," he told the officials.  The Chief Minister also said the poachers will not be spared.  He also appealed to the people living on the fringes of the park to remain alert against poachers and urged them to also identify the culprits.  The poachers have killed nine one-horned rhinos in the park this year. Ahead of the assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party in Assam had campaigned against the then Congress government's failure to protect the rhinos.  The state government also made a major reshuffle in the ranks of park authorities and brought at least four new officers, including one Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF), one Forest Ranger and two Deputy Conservator of Forest to strengthen the anti-poaching measures.  Earlier, the Assam government had also suspended the Director of the Kaziranga National Park for allegedly not disclosing to Assam Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma about poaching of a rhino when she was visiting the park.  Brahma had recently said that the anti-poaching measures in the park could be overhauled.