Kaziranga National Park (KNP) has become the first National Park in the country to have been equipped with satellite phones.
10 satellite phones were handed over to the forest personnel by Chief Secretary, Jisnu Barua and they have been activated.
The decision to arm the forest personnel of the park famous world over for the one-horned rhinos with satellite phones was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister, Dr.Himanta Biswa Sarma at the KNP on May 27 in which Minister for Environment and Forest, Parimal Suklaibaidya, Ministers Keshab Mahanta and Atul Bora, Director, KNP, Deputy Commissioners of adjoining districts and other senior officials of the Forest department were present. The step to equip the forest personnel with satellite phones was taken to boost anti-poaching measures.
The satellite phones will be used in the park’s six ranges with no wireless or poor mobile connectivity.
According to the park authorities, KNP has become the first in the country to use satellite phones as this facility is generally used by law-enforcing agencies. The public is barred from using satellite phones in India.
The Assam State Disaster Management Authority has procured the ten satellite phones for the KNP at an estimated cost of Rs.16 lakh. BSNL will be the service provider. The park authorities will bear the monthly expenses.
Meanwhile, the BSNL has trained up the forest personnel on how to operate the satellite phones in shadow areas and grooves where mobile phones do not function.
“The communication bottleneck will be removed with the use of satellite phones deep inside the park,” said a forest official.
Forest and Environment Minister, Suklaibaidya thanked the Chief Minister for his prompt initiative in equipping the forest personnel with satellite phones. “I thank the Chief Minister for realizing the communication bottlenecks and taking prompt action to provide satellite phones to the park. The
satellite phones will be immensely useful for coordination. There shouldn’t be barriers to communication and hence using satellite phones is a necessity in KNP with a sprawling area. The satellite phones will give an edge to the forest personnel over the poachers and also during emergencies like a flood,” quipped Suklaibaidya.