Assam’s ‘horny committee’ gets it on!

Assam’s ‘horny committee’ gets it on!

Assam has a ‘treasure trove’ of rhino horns. But there were rumours that the ‘genuine’ rhino horns were being sneaked out and sold in the black market. Now Assam has a ‘Committee for the examination of Rhino horn’.

The rhino horn verification process initiated by the State government got under way on Saturday with the first sitting of the committee constituted to examine the rhino horns stored under the custody of the Forest Department.

There are 2,296 rhino horns stored in treasuries across the State under the Forest Department’s custody.

The ‘Committee for Examination of Rhino Horn’ was constituted recently in the wake of allegations that the authenticity of many of the horns stocked by the Forest Department was doubtful and that genuine horns were finding their way to the flourishing illegal global trade in rhino horn.

According to a recent report by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), fake rhino horns are made with top quality resins and look so authentic that those are almost impossible to distinguish from the real thing.

“The meeting, which was chaired by Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma, resolved to compile a complete database of the rhino horns kept in various treasuries of Assam and ensure complete transparency in the rhino horn authenticity verification process through chemical analysis and video-recording of the entire verification process,” Dr Bibhab Talukdar, a member of the committee told The Assam Tribune.

While the committee was initially given a month’s time to conduct the exercise, the meeting felt that the exercise could extend to three months, given the nitty-gritty involved.

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The meeting also elected MC Malakar, former PCCF (Wildlife) and retired State Information Commissioner as permanent chairman of the committee and Senior Wildlife Warden Pankaj Kumar Sharma as member secretary. The committee will next sit at the Assam State Zoo on July 26.

[Christine Ao, citizen journalist]

 

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