NEW DELHI: Terming the recently killing of rhinos in Kaziranga national park as a "serious" issue, the Centre today said that it will take stringent action against poachers and also ask the state government to immediately recruit people in the Rhino task force to curb the menace.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the recent approval given by the Union cabinet to India adopting the statute of the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) will increase cooperation between South Asian countries to curb wildlife crimes.
The comments come on a day Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi directed Additional Chief Secretary T Y Das to probe the death of two rhinos in Kaziranga National Park recently and to submit a report to him.
Javadekar said that the Centre is very serious regarding the issue and has initiated tough action against the poachers, many of whom have been killed, and such steps will continue. "They are using AK47s. This is a serious issue. We have already created rhino task force. Unfortunately state government has not recruited. Now the elections are over. "We will ask state government to immediately do that. Our concept is that local youths are trained and recruited in the protection force. Centre is going to pay," Javadekar told PTI.
Hours after England's Prince William and his wife Princess Kate Middleton visited the Kaziranga National Park, poachers shot dead a rhinoceros at the sprawling sanctuary using AK47 guns. Poachers had killed a female rhino just two days before the royal visit. The horns of both animals were hacked off.
The Union Cabinet recently gave its nod for India adopting the statute of the SAWEN which will help in checking cross border wildlife crimes.
The approval by the Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi allows the country to become a formal member of SAWEN in order to strengthen ties with the member countries in controlling the trans-boundary wildlife crime through communication, coordination, collaboration, capacity building and cooperation in the region.
"SAWEN which has been approved by the cabinet is very important. It is the neighbouring countries where the horns are smuggled out of India and then they go for final destination. So close cooperation of neighbouring South Asian countries is an essential part in stopping the illegal trade.
"At the same time, we are also taking action on ground. State government should immediately recruit local people and train them," Javadekar said.