The forest guards in The Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNP & TR) in Assam will be equipped with satellite phones to guard the wildlife of the world heritage site.
Assam is the first state in the country to be equipped with 10 satellite phones to give its security personnel and forest staff.
According to a top KNP official, 10 satellite phones were handed over to the forest staff by Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua on Wednesday, which has already been activated.
The satellite phones, procured at an estimated cost of Rs 16 lakh, would be used in the park’s six ranges with no wireless facility or poor mobile connectivity.
“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.
He said the Assam State Disaster Management Authority has procured the 10 satellite phones for KNP & TR staff with BSNL as the service provider.
BSNL engineers have trained the forest department staff on how to operate the satellite phones in the shadow areas and grooves, where mobile phones do not function.
“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.
The decision to arm the forest staff with satellite phones was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on May 27, in which Minister for Environment and Forest, Parimal Suklaibaidya, was also present.
The step was taken to boost anti-poaching measures.
Suklaibaidya said in a statement that the satellite phones would be immensely useful 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.