A shocking incident happened on December 15, 2017, in Guwahati, Assam. A bike stunt show was organised inside the premises of the Assam State Zoo-cum-Botanical Garden, Guwahati, by TVS Bikes. It’s shocking to see how the authorities allowed the organiser to hold such an event, which violates the law.
One Guwahati-based journalist, Partha Prawal, who went to the zoo, was shocked when he learnt that such an event was happening. Wasting no time, he went live on his Facebook account, giving details about the show. In the beginning, he said that he met the Assistant Conservator of Forests, asking him whether the organiser was given permission. The official denied that any such permission had been given.
According to Partha, he couldn’t find the DFO, Assam State Zoo, in his office when he went there to ask about the event. To get an answer from the organisers, he asked one of the freelance anchors, who unfortunately manhandled him.
In another part of the video, he met with the Assistant Conservator of Forest again, who said the permission had not been given by him but by the DFO, Assam State Zoo. The officer was instructing the person who was handling the PA system to lower the volume.
The organisers claimed that they have all the proper documents and permits.
Now, the question arises, how can one give permission to hold such events within an area that is exclusively protected for animals? This kind of event inside the premises of the zoo generates noise and air pollution, which harms the wildlife. If the forest department carries out an eviction drive to evict illegal encroachers from forest land, then why can’t they ban such events inside the zoo? Will the Forest and Environment Minister, Pramila Rani Brahma, take action against the zoo authorities?
Moloy Baruah, president of Early Birds, an NGO, while talking to Partha and speaking about activities like stunt shows and musical nights within the zoo campus, said, “Activities like these within the zoo campus are illegal. At no point should programmes that involve generation of pollution – either noise or air – be allowed within protected areas. The authorities are at fault here and proper inquiry must be carried out in this matter.”
Watch the video below and decide whose fault is this:
UPDATE: The zoo authorities took Partha’s live video positively, and said that they were in fact quite pleased to see his alertness. The authorities were not informed about the use of the sound system, and the permission was given only because they were told that it would be a silent event.
Such permissions have been provided earlier as well. The functions went smoothly in those cases, and the tranquillity of the zoo was not disturbed. The event on Friday was an eye-opener, and this has made them resolve to stop any further events in the future.
A number of programmes that had been permitted earlier, in fact, have been shown the red signal, and the authorities are fully dedicated to stopping any nuisance that might take place in the future.
“We are planning on an awareness drive among the students and the people from various walks of life about things to do and not to do while visiting the state zoo. A zoo is a place where you should restrain yourself from creating a ruckus. The drive will be about keeping it clean and green, and also about how the zoo should be developed further,” said Ranjit Dutta, Ranger, Assam State Zoo-cum-Botanical Garden.
He added, “We ask all our media friends to help us and join us in creating this awareness. I think this awareness has become very important.”
It is worth noting here that Dutta, after taking charge as the ranger, has mobilised a cleanliness drive and so far has cleaned a lot of areas of the zoo – especially the Pelican pond, which was full of water hyacinth.
The post was updated with new information from the author on December 18, 2017.