Assam to amend wildlife laws to punish poachers

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Guwahati, Sept 16 (UNI) Poachers and illegal wildlife traders in Assam would soon face severe penalty with the State Forest Department, in the final stages of amending the present act, to plug loopholes and increase the imprisonment term. The Forest Department had initiated the process for amending and modifying the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, in the state to make the punishment for poachers more harsh, state Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain said here today.

He informed that the imprisonment term of three-seven years has been proposed to be raised to seven-10 years and in case of second offence, life imprisonment.

The fine of Rs 10,000 has been proposed to be raised to Rs 50,000 in case of first offence, and Rs 75,000 in case of second.

The minister said the proposal has already been cleared by the Political, Finance, Home and Legal departments with the nod of the Legislative department awaited before placing it in the Cabinet.

Once the Cabinet approves it, the amendments will be placed before the Assembly and once it is successfully passed, the President's approval would be sought and the new laws will be enforced accordingly, Mr Hussain said.

An urgent need to toughen the existing laws against poachers was felt, after they repeatedly managed to get bail and escape with lean punishment due to loopholes in the present law.

Similar toughened laws have been proposed for illegal felling of tress, a major problem in the state, the minister said.

The term of imprisonment has been sought to be increased from 0ne-three years to three-seven years and the fine from Rs 5000 to Rs 50,000, he said.

The proposal has already been sent to the Political Department, he added.

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