Birds of eastern India(Shutterstock)
Birds of eastern India(Shutterstock)

Nameri forest guard gets Zeiss wildlife award, but regular job remains a dream

A forest guard sheds some light on the plight of the people who protect our forests and wildlife.
By Malavika Vyawahare | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 13, 2017 03:27 PM IST

Minaram Gogoi knows a thing or two about flying, although he had never been on a plane until last month. When the 35-year-old boarded a flight from Guwahati to Delhi to receive the Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award in March, it turned out to be an experience he wouldn’t forget soon.

Employed as a forest guard at Assam’s Nameri National Park, Gogoi is an uncrowned expert on the birds of eastern India. However, his brief acceptance speech was in stark contrast to the carefully curated video presentations that came before him. He simply thanked the organisers for the recognition, and then requested that his job be made regular.

“I have worked in Nameri for almost 17 years, but my job has not been made regular till today,” he said after receiving the award. “It is very difficult for us.”

Gogoi is employed in the capacity of a daily wage labourer at the national park, earning Rs 7,000 a month. If appointed as a regular employee, his salary will rise to Rs 15,000 – going a long way in providing for his wife and seven-year-old son.

According to an Assam government advertisement from December 2016, forest guards get anywhere between Rs 5,200 and Rs 20,200 as monthly pay. However, to be formally inducted as a forest guard, the minimum qualification required of a candidate is a degree in higher secondary education. According to Gogoi’s supervisors, this is the very factor preventing him from landing a regular job with the forest department.

Minaram Gogoi with the award he received at the function in Delhi. (Malavika Vyawahare)
Minaram Gogoi with the award he received at the function in Delhi. (Malavika Vyawahare)

Data acquired from the environment and forest ministry shows that India relies heavily on daily wage labourers like Gogoi to safeguard its forests and wildlife sanctuaries. In some tiger reserves, they constitute over 50% of the labour force.

Born in a village near Kaziranga National Park, protecting wildlife has been a part of Gogoi’s life from the start. Being a Class 3 dropout, he does not know how to read and write properly. However, that hasn’t prevented him from “mastering” the language of the birds.

Over the years, Gogoi has taught himself to identify avians by travelling with avid bird watchers who frequent the park. “There are 374 bird species in Nameri, and I can identify 300 of them,” he said with evident pride.

During the off-season, Gogoi assists in patrolling and anti-poaching activities. His day, which starts at 6 in the morning, usually involves moving through the park on foot, elephant or boat.

In recent months, conservation efforts in the region have come under scrutiny due to a BBC documentary alleging that forest guards at the Kaziranga National Park are given “shoot-at-sight” powers. Calling for a broader understanding of the human-wildlife conflict, critics have argued that forest guards – foot soldiers in the war against poaching – are mostly underpaid and overworked.

People from various sections of the wildlife conservation space came together at the Zeiss Awards. Among the other awardees recognised this year were Delhi-based bird watcher Nikhil Devasar, photojournalist Kalyan Varma, bird veterinarian Rina Dev, Keoladeo National Park deputy conservator Bijo Joy and lifetime conservationist Bholu Abrar Khan.

The award, instituted by leading optics manufacturer Zeiss, is now in its 17th year. Conservationists from all walks of life had flocked in Delhi for the evening.

Gogoi left the capital the day after, on an early morning flight. He had an award in his kitty, but sadly, not the promise of a regular job.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
The Indian Navy now plans to retrofit all its Kalvari class non-nuclear attack with AIP during their first upgrade, expected around 2023.(Photo: Indian Navy)
The Indian Navy now plans to retrofit all its Kalvari class non-nuclear attack with AIP during their first upgrade, expected around 2023.(Photo: Indian Navy)

DRDO develops AIP technology, Indian subs to be more silent and lethal

By Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 12:06 PM IST
  • A boost for Atma Nirbhar Bharat campaign, AIP-fitted submarines remain sub-surface for a longer period and are quieter than nuclear-powered submarines.
Close
The H-4 visa is normally issued to those who have already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status in the US.(NYT Photo/ Representative image)
The H-4 visa is normally issued to those who have already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status in the US.(NYT Photo/ Representative image)

Inordinate delay in processing of H-4 work authorisation, say spouses of H-1B

PTI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 11:37 AM IST
An H-4 visa is issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the H-1B visa holders, most of whom are Indian IT professionals.
Close
Representational image.
Representational image.

Ministries to highlight CVC role while approaching UPSC to discipline officers

By Neeraj Chauhan
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 11:20 AM IST
The DoPT in 2011 asked to dispense with “second-stage advice” of CVC in disciplinary cases involving consultation with UPSC. However, it was observed that the move didn’t obtain the desired result
Close
Farmers have been protesting on different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws.(ANI Photo)
Farmers have been protesting on different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws.(ANI Photo)

Farmers' protest: MHA extends CAPF companies deployment in Delhi till March 15

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 11:14 AM IST
Addressing a Kisan mahapanchayat in Rajasthan, Rakesh Tikait had threatened the central government and said that if the three laws are not repealed, the farmers will 'gherao' the Parliament with 40 lakh tractors.
Close
Kangana Ranaut. (HT archive)(HT_PRINT)
Kangana Ranaut. (HT archive)(HT_PRINT)

Bombay HC to hear plea seeking suspension of Kangana's Twitter account

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Shivani, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 11:04 AM IST
The lawyer also included Twitter as a party in his petition and sought directions to the microblogging site to suspend Ranuat's account.
Close
Image courtesy: ANI
Image courtesy: ANI

Delhi budget LIVE: 9,934 cr allocated for health; vaccine to remain free

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 12:10 PM IST
  • Among the key highlights, the budget is expected to have a special allocation for free Covid-19 vaccination at Delhi government hospitals.
Delhi deputy chief minister and finance minister Manish Sisodia arrives to present Delhi budget at Vidhan Sabha. (HT Photo by Raj K Raj)
Delhi deputy chief minister and finance minister Manish Sisodia arrives to present Delhi budget at Vidhan Sabha. (HT Photo by Raj K Raj)

'All set...': Manish Sisodia to present Delhi's first paperless budget

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Arpan Rai, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 10:43 AM IST
Sisodia was seen carrying a tablet device in a red cover while entering the Assembly as this will be Delhi's first paperless budget.
Close
The Child Budget Statement is proposed to be prepared in two parts, namely 100 per cent child-centric and less than 100 per cent child-centric programmes/ schemes. (Deepak Gupta/HT)
The Child Budget Statement is proposed to be prepared in two parts, namely 100 per cent child-centric and less than 100 per cent child-centric programmes/ schemes. (Deepak Gupta/HT)

Andhra Pradesh govt to bring gender, child budget from financial year 2021-22

ANI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 10:38 AM IST
  • The Gender Budget Statement is proposed to be prepared in two parts. Part A- reflecting schemes that are 100% targeted towards women and girl beneficiaries; and Part B- reflecting Pro-women and girl schemes in which 30 to 99% allocations are towards women and girls.
Close
The Supreme Court said a decision on reviewing the 50% ceiling on reservations in educational institutions and jobs needs to be answered in the context of the “changed social dynamics of the society”(HT PHOTO)
The Supreme Court said a decision on reviewing the 50% ceiling on reservations in educational institutions and jobs needs to be answered in the context of the “changed social dynamics of the society”(HT PHOTO)

Time to review 50% cap on quota? Supreme Court asks states

By Abraham Thomas, Utkarsh Anand, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 10:26 AM IST
  • If the Supreme Court's five-judge bench accepts that the judgment in Indra Sawhney case should be modified, the case will have to be referred to an 11-judge bench.
Close
The Supreme Court. (HT archive)
The Supreme Court. (HT archive)

SC to examine whether to review 50% cap on quota: Key points

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Sameer
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 10:01 AM IST
The apex court said the issue of whether it is time to scrap it on quotas in educational institutions and jobs needs to be answered in the context of the “changed social dynamics of the society” and recent constitutional amendments
Close
Representational image.
Representational image.

Toolkit case: Nikita Jacob, Shantanu Muluk’s bail plea to be heard today

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Zara Khan
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 09:59 AM IST
The duo, along with climate activist Disha Ravi, has been charged with sedition for creating and sharing a toolkit on social media related to the ongoing farmer’s protest against the three new farm laws
Close
ED officials at Khaira's home in Chandigarh on Tuesday morning.(HT Photo/Ravi Kumar)
ED officials at Khaira's home in Chandigarh on Tuesday morning.(HT Photo/Ravi Kumar)

Money laundering case: ED raids MLA Sukhpal Khaira's house in Chandigarh

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 10:30 AM IST
The raids are being carried out at five locations in Punjab, one in Chandigarh (at Khaira's house there) and two in Delhi.
Close
The statement was issued by the high commission said, following the debate which stemmed from an e-petition that attracted over 100,000 signatures on the parliamentary website.(AFP file photo)
The statement was issued by the high commission said, following the debate which stemmed from an e-petition that attracted over 100,000 signatures on the parliamentary website.(AFP file photo)

Farmers' protest: India condemns false assertions in UK parliamentary debate

PTI, London
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 10:32 AM IST
The mission said it would normally refrain from commenting on an internal discussion involving a small group of honourable parliamentarians in a limited quorum.
Close
Representational image. (HT Archive)
Representational image. (HT Archive)

Indiscriminate mining has irreversibly damaged Aravallis, suggest documents

By Jayashree Nandi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 09:42 AM IST
An affidavit enclosed with the application submitted by YS Malik, principal secretary, mines and geology, in March 2010 said in the Aravallis, opencast mining is followed, and stocks once mined are removed from the site and can never be replenished
Close
Elderly citizens receive Covid vaccine shots in Guwahati on Monday.(PTI Photo)
Elderly citizens receive Covid vaccine shots in Guwahati on Monday.(PTI Photo)

With 15,388 new cases, India's daily Covid-19 infections dip slightly

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 09:33 AM IST
The country also recorded 77 fresh fatalities, which pushed the death toll to 1,57,930, according to health ministry update.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP