Source: News Bharati English17 Jul 2016 17:30:26

Guwahati, July 17: For verification of rhino horns kept at the State treasuries in Assam, the state government-constituted committee, comprising of experts from within and outside the department, held its first sitting in Guwahati and decided to have State Information Commissioner (retd) Mohan Chandra Malakar as its permanent chairman and Senior Wildlife Warden Pankaj Kumar Sharma as its member secretary.The committee has asked the DFOs and treasury officers of the State to submit lists of horns kept in their district treasuries. The committee will hold its next sitting on July 26 during which it will compile the entire database of the horns kept at the treasuries.

According to media agency, The Sentinel, there are some 2,000 horns kept at 13 State treasuries, a bulk of these around 1,600 at Golaghat. It is learnt that the horns are kept in 38 trunks at the Golaghat treasury. Treasuries of Nagaon, Sonitpur, Guwahati, Lakhimpur, Jorhat and Barpeta also have some horns. A makeshift forensic lab will be set up at the treasuries when the physical verification is carried out to ensure that any doubt is cleared at the spot through necessary tests.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Forest department is contemplating on gifting some of the rhino horns to museums across the world. The final decision will, however, be taken by the cabinet. There has been a lot of controversy over the horns kept at the treasuries, with allegations that many of these have gone missing. Around 50/60 rhinos die of natural causes every year.

The state government-constituted committee comprise of Principal Secretary (Forest) Sanjeeva Kumar, PCCF (wildlife) Bikash Brahma, Kaziranga director Satyendra Singh, deputy director DD Boro, journalists Mrinal Talukdar and Prashanta Rajguru, Treasury Officer Pranab Sarma, Deputy Director of State Forensic department Athang Singson, Kaziranga DFO Suvasish Das and RTI activist Dilip Kumar Nath.