Forest guards on night patrol in Kaziranga. File picture
Jorhat, Aug. 18: Assam police headquarters has approved a proposal by Golaghat district police to upgrade the Kohora police outpost into a full-fledged police station in the Kaziranga National Park area.
The initiative will give more teeth to the police and extend support to the forest department in its efforts against rhino poaching. It will also help counter the threat from Karbi rebels active in the area. The Karbi Anglong district boundary is less than 1km from the Kohora outpost, wh-ich lies along National Highway 37 near the Kohora range office of the national park.
Golaghat superintendent of police R.A. Lashkar told The Telegraph today that there is an urgent need to upgrade the Kohora outpost in view of the “changing situation” in the area that necessitates a faster police response.
He said in order to tackle rhino poaching, the park staff needed more police support.
A police station has more manpower and better infrastructure than an outpost.
The SP said they also needed a larger police force and more powers to counter the threat of militants from adjoining Karbi Anglong district. In the past two years, the rebels had fired twice at public vehicles, including the night passenger bus plying on National Highway 37, though there has been no casualty.
Lashkar said the people of villages residing near the Kohora range had also sought the upgrade of the outpost into a police station. They had earlier submitted a memorandum to the department, citing the requirement of better security and safety measures in the area. He said an increased flow of tourists to the park in the last few years and in the resorts and hotels coming up in the area, has made a police station necessary. The SP said once the outpost is made into a police station, FIRs can be directly lodged there.
At present, FIRs have to be sent to Bokakhat police station, 22km east of the outpost. Currently, the Kohora outpost is functioning under Bokakhat police station. A case cannot be registered in a police outpost.
Sources said a police station is headed by an officer in-charge, generally in the rank of sub-inspector, and has another officer designated as a second officer, in the rank of a junior sub-inspector or an assistant sub -inspector.
An officer in-charge of a police station has a host of powers under CrPC and can take decisions promptly to tackle any kind of situation.
A police outpost is headed by an in-charge in the rank of a sub-inspector or at times by an assistant sub-inspector.
Lashkar said they would consult the people of surrounding villages to get their opinions documented and send those to the government before declaring the upgrade.
Kaziranga park director N.K. Vasu welcomed the move and said the upgrade would boost the anti-poaching efforts of the park staff.
A security force of over 1,200 men, comprising forest department staff and the recently raised Assam Forest Protection Force personnel, guard the park boundaries.
The total area of the park is 880 square km after being extended from 430 square km.
Poachers in Kaziranga have killed 16 rhinos this year. Four poachers have been killed in two encounters with park staff earlier this year.