Jorhat, Jan. 5: The forest department has released funds to construct a permanent beat office-cum-anti-poaching camp at Kokilamukh about 14km northwest of Jorhat town.
The building is being constructed on a raised platform (like a chang ghar of the Mising community) to withstand floods during the rainy season. The building will house forest staff who will tackle a herd of elephants that moves around the villages and saporis (sandbars) along the banks of the Brahmaputra and in the villages of Majuli island.
Jorhat’s divisional forest officer N.K. Malakar told The Telegraph that a permanent building at Kokilamukh had become a necessity to keep the riverine herd of around 100 elephants away from the villages along the river.
Forest guards take a long time to reach areas along the riverbank from the Jorhat range office in town. So, a team of forest staff needs to be stationed at Kokilamukh, from where they can manage the entire northwest Jorhat area, along the Brahmaputra, Malakar said.
“A permanent building is necessary to accommodate the forest guards and it also provides a place for them to keep their arms and ammunition, giving them better mobility to deal with the elephants that cross the river and reach Majuli and vice versa.”
The government has released Rs 10 lakh and construction of the RCC (reinforced cement concrete) building, which is being built on a 1.5 katha plot near to the river, is almost complete, Malakar said. The camp will also be useful in monitoring and driving back rhinos that stray out from Kaziranga National Park during winter.
In the past few years, several rhinos had strayed out of Kaziranga and moved eastwards, from one sapori to another, before entering Jorhat forest division. These rhinos need to be tracked and protected from poachers, the DFO said.
In the last two months, over four rhinos have strayed out of Kaziranga. Moving through the saporis in Jorhat forest division some of them reached Lakhimpur on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra via Majuli — creating lot of problems for forest staff, the DFO said.
Another benefit of the camp is that there are a large number of beels (waterbodies) at Kokilamukh that attract a whole host of local and migratory birds, many of which are endangered, he added.
The DFO said last year, the department constructed an Assam-type building to house the Neematighat beat office.