Gun on shoulder, computer in palm
- Worry over elephant accidents; digital support for Kaziranga
Kaziranga, April 7: If forest guards in Assam were thinking that holding PDA (personal digital assistant) like their counterparts were doing in Kanha is just a dream, they should forget that now.
Forest guards in three national parks of Assam — Kaziranga, Manas and Nameri — will soon be getting these latest gizmos.
PDA is a computer that fits into one's palm. These small computers are sometimes called palmtops and are a great way to store telephone numbers, email addresses, access the Internet, make calculations, keep a digital calendar and play games.
This was announced by Union forest and environment minister Jairam Ramesh in Kaziranga on April 5 during a dinner with newly recruited forest guards of whom many were women.
“In Kanha in Madhya Pradesh, forest guards are now using PDAs which help them get a layout of the entire forest right at their fingertips. There is no reason why forest guards in Assam should not get it,” Ramesh said at the meet.
Altogether 40 PDAs have been sanctioned for Kanha in 2009-10 fiscal.
Today’s PDA is very small in size, fits comfortably in a pocket and generally has good battery life which allows one to recharge the device at night or when in office.
Ramesh requested Assam forest minister Rockybul Hussain to provide the newly recruited forest guards and foresters with more facilities.
“Improve the service conditions of the guards who want to study more,” Ramesh told Hussain. Ramesh also asked Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of National Tiger Conservation Authority, to find out how these forest guards and foresters can be provided training at the Wildlife Institute of India.
Chayamoni Dasa, a newly recruited forest guard, told Ramesh that she would like to go for a course in wildlife management. “It is my duty to serve in any wildlife area despite the difficulties,” she said, leaving Ramesh impressed.
The Union minister said special care should be taken for the facilities for women in the camps in the wildlife areas. He was also impressed by the large number of women in the frontline staff and called for recruitment every year. There were lighter moments in the interaction, too, when he asked the women forest guards not to get married so that they could be in service for a long time.
Another forest guard also voiced concern on the growing encroachment and criminals taking shelter and called for upgrading the arms and equipment.
“You take one step forward, we will take two,” were Ramesh’s words of encouragement before he signed off.

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