Guwahati: The Assam government is taking all steps and shoot-at-sight orders could be considered in the Kaziranga National Park (KNP)to deal with poaching, Assam Minister for Environment and Forest Rockybul Hussain said on Saturday. The state government has already sought a CBI probe into poaching of rhinos, whose horns are considered aphrodisiac. "Some of the demands made recently by the All Assam Students Union (AASU) are sound ones, including deployment of Army and shoot-at-sight," he said.
Extremist groups are reportedly present in the area around the park and forest department personnel cannot deal with them, he said, adding that "poachers now use sophisticated weapons and we are trying to match them". The state government has been drawing flak due to rising incidents of poaching, which has claimed eight rhinos so far in 2013. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has already asked the police to help forest department officials to prevent poaching.
Hussain said, installation of high power electronic eye cameras in the KNP to catch the movement of doubtful persons inside the park and prevent poaching, is likely to be fully implemented within a year or two. "We want the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to take the full responsibility for the project," the minister said, adding that a team of officials from the Corbett National Park have already visited KNP for a ground level study.
Hussain blamed former chief minister and opposition Asom Gana Parishad president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta for trying to politicise the issue. "I am being made a scapegoat. In Mahanta's tenure as chief minister, 45 rhinos were killed in a single year. Why was there no mention of any CBI inquiry then?" he asked.