Assam flood situation shows signs of improvement
Guwahati: Overall flood situation in Assam where 35 lakh people have been affected by the deluge on Saturday showed signs of improvement as water level of Brahmaputra river and its tributaries receded following cessation of rain.
Official sources said with the improvement in the flood situation, marooned people who had taken shelter on highways and highlands were preparing to leave for their homes.
More than 35 lakh people of 19 districts of the state have been affected in this the third wave of flood which has so far claimed the lives of 19 persons, the sources said.
Over 3000 villages have been hit in latest wave of flood. The affected districts Barpeta, Darrang, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Golaghat, Goalpara, Jorhat, Kamrup rural and metro, Lakhimpur, Morigaon, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sibsagar, Sonitpur, Tinsukia, Dhubri, Baksa and Udalguri.
The situation is worst in world heritage site of Kaziranga National Park with more than 17 highly endangered one-horned rhinos killed this year, ten of them in the third wave of flood.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi under pressure from conservationists to protect the park, has announced formation of an Animal Defence Force by involoving the people of the surrounding areas of the park to protect the animals and the forest.
"The ADF is proposed to be set up on the lines of the Village Defence Party that protects a village," he said.
The ADF, Gogoi said, will have several units comprising people of the locality to protect wildlife.
The chief minister also backed state forest minister Rockybul Hussain who is under fire for loss of rhinos and other animals in KNP.
"The opposition and others concerned have no ground to criticise Hussain as during the erstwhile Asom Gana Parishad regime more animals have been killed," Gogoi said.
Meanwhile, a leading wildlife group has alleged that there was a nexus between a section of forest officials and poachers.
"They (forest department officials) have a link with poachers and extend help to them. Otherwise it is not possible for the poachers to kill the animals inside the park at this rate" director of Nature's Becknon, Soumyadeep Dutta said here.
There were instances of KNP officials selling the prized horns of rhinos which is banned under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, he alleged.