Forest guards in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNP & TR) will be given satellite phones to protect the world heritage site’s wildlife.
Assam is the first state in the country to have ten satellite phones to provide security and forest workers.
Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua handed over 10 satellite phones to the forest staff on Wednesday, according to a top KNP official, and they have already been activated.
The cost and use of the satellite phones
The satellite phones, which cost around Rs 16 lakh and will be used in the park’s six ranges where there is no wireless service or poor cell coverage.
“The KNP & TR has become the first national park in the country to use satellite phones as this facility is generally used by the law enforcing agencies for serious security or disaster-related situations. Common people are barred from using satellite phones in India,” the official said.
BSNL as the service provider
The Assam State Disaster Management Authority, he added, has procured 10 satellite phones for KNP and TR employees, with BSNL serving as the service provider.
Engineers from BSNL have taught forest department employees how to use satellite phones in situations where cell phones do not work, such as shadows and grooves.
“With the availability of satellite phones deep inside the national park, the communication bottleneck in supervising the security of the park would be removed,” the official said.
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Assam CM took the great initiative
On May 27, a meeting headed by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and attended by Minister for Environment and Forest, Parimal Suklaibaidya, decided to arm forest employees with satellite phones.
The decision was made to strengthen anti-poaching measures. The satellite phones, according to Suklaibaidya, would be extremely valuable for coordination.
“There shouldn’t be any barrier to communication and hence using satellite phones is a necessity in KNP & TR given its sprawling area. The satellite phones will give an edge to the forest staff over poachers and also during emergencies like floods,” said the minister.
Assam CM’s initiatives to make the life of forest protection force better
In addition, the Chief Minister argued for measures to improve the living circumstances of the State’s forest protection force. The Chief Minister ordered that ration allowances for forest force members involved in wildlife conservation be increased from Rs. 840 to Rs. 2000.
He also requested that anti-poaching camps within Kaziranga National Park be modernized to increase personnel morale.