GUWAHATI, Dec 13: In a workshop on ‘Combating Wildlife Crime through Awareness’ at Paschim Chitalmari Rangamancha Singri, Pradipta Baruah, the field director of Orang National Park and Tiger Reserve, highlighted the crucial role of Village Defence Party (VDP) members in preventing wildlife crime on the periphery of the Orang National Park and Tiger Reserve.
Addressing members from the Singri area, Baruah explained the significance of VDPs as the eyes and ears of both the state police and forest departments. He urged VDP members to act as modern-day ‘drones’ in monitoring and preventing wildlife crime. Baruah highlighted the reward and recognition history of VDP members, encouraging them to promptly alert forest officials to any suspicious activities.
The workshop, titled ‘Combating Wildlife Crime through Awareness’, aimed to raise awareness and elicit cooperation from local VDP members and the community in safeguarding wildlife from the recently expanded Orang National Park and Tiger Reserve.
Attended by approximately 80 participants, including panchayat members, local villagers, and primarily VDP members, the workshop was presided over by social worker Gop Bahudur Thapa. Rajib Hazarika, assistant conservator of Forests, and Rajen Thapa, the secretary of the Village Defence Party of the Singri Police Outpost, were also present.
Ajoy Kumar Das, senior law consultant of Aaranyak, emphasised the legal duties of VDP members and their vital role in wildlife crime prevention. Das explained the legal protection afforded to VDP members and urged them to assist the police and forest department without fear.
In-charge of the Singri Police Outpost, Raj Kumar Taye, highlighted the increased importance of VDP vigilance against wildlife crimes as the park boundaries have extended near Singri village. Forest official Pranjit Deka praised VDP members for their past assistance to the forest department and expressed hope for continued cooperation.
Lata Devi, the president of Dakshin Singri Gaon Panchayat, expressed concern about the declining wildlife and bird species on Earth.
The workshop received support from the circle officer of Dhekiajuli, Tonmoy Bora, and the officer-in-charge of the Dhekiajuli Police Station, Raja Sarkar, who were unable to attend due to prior official commitments. Aaranyak’s secretary general and CEO, Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, expressed gratitude to the Forest Department and VDP members for their successful organisation of the workshop.