The Assam government is planning to construct a heliport near the famous Kaziranga National Park to attract more visitors, the Chief Minister's Office said today.
During a function held today to distribute sophisticated arms to forest personnel at Kaziranga National Park, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal directed three of his cabinet ministers to scout for land to build the proposed heliport near the national park known for housing one-horned rhinos.
A heliport is an area used for landing and take off of helicopters that includes buildings and facilities and typically contain one or more touchdown and lift off areas with limited facilities such as fuel or hangars.
According to an official release from the Chief Minister's Office, Sonowal directed Forest and Environment Minister Pramila Rani Brahma to take action for setting up an international standard convention centre at Kaziranga at an early date.
"He also directed the forest minister along with Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta and Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, who are the local MLAs of Kaliabor and Bokakhat constituencies where majority of the Kaziranga National Park falls, to identify a suitable location for building a heliport nearby the park for increasing tourist flow," it added.
The statement did not mention details such as by when the work is expected to begin or if the government is in the process to obtain necessary clearances.
During the function, Sonowal distributed 272 INSAS rifles, 954 SLRs, 133 units of 12 Bore Pump Action Guns, 20 pieces of 9mm pistols and 91 Ghatak rifles among frontline forest personnel of the state, the release said.
Handing over the arms, Sonowal expressed hope that modern weapons would enable the forest personnel to carry out their duties in a more effective manner.
The state government had made a provision of Rs 10 crore in the 2016-17 state budget for purchase of modern arms for forest department, the release said.
"Another Rs 10 crore has also been kept in the 2017-18 budget for purchase of more such arms and equipment in the coming days," it added.
Sonowal said he would address the grievances of forest guards and frontline workers in a phased manner and mentioned about initiatives like new uniform for smart forest guard force and imparting intensive training for handling modern arms.
Sonowal also said that 10 Wildlife Fast Track Courts have been set up for speedy proceedings against poachers and other wildlife criminals.
Brahma said that a number of initiatives have been taken to protect the rhinos and other wild animals of the state and the reconstitution of Anti-Rhino Poaching Task Force is a step in that direction.
At the function, Sonowal also distributed ex-gratia to the next of kin of victims of man animal conflict and compensation to the injured.