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Raid on Forest Officer’s House yields Rs 2 Crore in Cash, Gold and Animal Parts in Assam

After being suspended by the State government, Talukdar was produced in a special court

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Seized tiger skin Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Assam Police recovered animal parts, Rs 2 crore in cash and gold from two residences of a divisional forest officer (DFO) of Assam
  • He was initially caught red-handed by the anti-corruption officers while accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000 each from three truckers
  • After being suspended by the State government, Talukdar was produced in a special court on June 14, which has sent him to police remand

GUWAHATI: Assam Police have recovered animal parts including tiger skin, deer skin, ivory, Rs 2 crore in cash and about 1kg of gold jewellery from two residences of a Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Assam.

According to The Indian Express report, Mahat Chandra Talukdar, who has been posted as the divisional forest officer in northern Assam’s Dhemaji since 2014, was initially caught red-handed by the anti-corruption officers while accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000 each from three truckers, who transport forest produce, at his office on June 13.

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“We have arrested him after he was caught while accepting bribe. We raided his house on Monday evening. First, we raided his house in Dhemaji and then in Guwahati. We have seized the amount, his personal vehicles and other documents and bank passbooks. There were allegations against him that he demanded bribe from three suppliers. Investigating the matter, we have caught him red-handed,” said Assam Police PRO Rajib Saikia to Deccan Herald.

Pallet of seized raw ivory in US Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Pallet of seized raw ivory in US Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the next 24 hours, he was taken to Guwahati and his two residences in Dhemaji and Guwahati were raided where the police found the cash, gold and parts of wild animals. Also, the police did not rule out the possibility of him being linked to poachers considering the 89 rhinos who were killed by poachers from 1989-1983 in Kaziranga National Park where he was serving at that time. A rhino horn could be priced for Rs 1 crore in the international black market.

Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma said the arrested DFO could not get away. “He has been placed under suspension. We will go hard on all those who are involved in corrupt practices,” she said.

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After being suspended by the State government, Talukdar was produced in a special court on 14 June which has sent him to police remand.

After this case of corruption which was linked to Wildlife, the Gauhati High Court had asked the state government to frame appropriate rules under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, authorizing police to file charge-sheets in cases of wildlife crime.

-prepared by Pashchiema Bhatia, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @pashchiema

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Amazon Rainforest Fires May Increase Glacier Melting: Study

Amazon fires may enhance glacier melting

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Researchers have found that burning of the rainforest in southwestern Amazonia may enhance glacier melting. Pixabay

Researchers have found that burning of the rainforest in southwestern Amazonia (the Brazilian, Peruvian and Bolivian Amazon) may increase the melting of tropical glaciers in the Andes, South America.

For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, researcher Newton de Magalhães Neto and colleagues from Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil, modelled the possible effect of biomass burning in the Amazon Basin on the Bolivian Zongo Glacier using data collected between 2000 and 2016 on fire events, the movement of smoke plumes, precipitation and glacier melting.

They found that aerosols from biomass burning, such as black carbon, can be transported by wind to tropical Andean glaciers.

Glacier melting
Tropical glaciers in the Andes, South America are affected by the Amazon fires. Pixabay

There they are deposited in snow and have the potential to increase glacier melting as snow that is darkened by black carbon or dust particles reflects less light (reduced albedo).

Focusing their analyses on the years 2007 and 2010 when fire seasons were the most critical for the Amazon Basin, the authors investigated the snow albedo reduction due to black carbon alone and black carbon in the presence of previously reported quantities of dust.

Their model showed that black carbon or dust alone had the potential to increase annual glacier melting by three to four per cent; or by six per cent when both were present.

If dust concentrations were high, dust alone had the potential to increase annual melting by 11-13 per cent and by 12-14 per cent in the presence of black carbon.

The findings suggest that the impact of Amazon biomass burning depends on the dust content in snow.

Pressure related to global food demand may result in further expansion of Brazilian agriculture and deforestation, resulting in enhanced black carbon and CO2 emissions that may impact Andean glaciers.

In September 2019, seven South American countries have agreed measures to protect the Amazon river basin, amid concerns over fires in the world’s largest tropical forest.

Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname signed a pact, setting up a disaster response network and satellite monitoring.

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Black carbon or dust alone had the potential to increase annual glacier melting. Pixabay

The Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming, and 60 per cent of it is located in Brazil.

The number of fires between January and August 2019 is double that of the same period last year, according to the country’s National Institute for Space Research (Inpe).

Several international retailers have said they are suspending purchases of Brazilian leather because of the links between cattle ranching and the fires devastating parts of the Amazon rainforest.

Also Read- Air Pollution Identified as a Life-threatening Illness: Study

Earlier in August, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has rejected a $22 million aid package offered by G7 countries to help battle fierce forest fires in the Amazon rainforest. (IANS)