The Assam Forest Department has roped in a commando of the elite National Security Guard (NSG) to impart rigorous training in physical fitness to its newly recruited forest guards and foresters.
Under a three-month induction training curriculum framed by the Assam Forest School at Jalukbari here, about 250 new recruits are undergoing the specialised training in batches.
The department has inducted recruits after a gap of 18 years, with about 30 per cent of them women.
Director of the Assam Forest School Ritesh Bhattacharjee told The Hindu that the physical fitness training by the NSG commando has enhanced the confidence level of the young recruits in protecting wildlife from poachers and illegal wildlife traders and facing other challenges of forest conservation. They had also been given training in martial arts and arms.
The Forest School was asked to frame a short-term training module for the recruits.
This was necessary as the department's experience of a year-long training curriculum with a limited capacity of forest schools was that many guards and foresters could not be trained during the initial years of recruitment.
The school now has the capacity to train 80 recruits at one go and is in a position to increase it to 100 recruits, Mr. Bhattacharjee added.
Apart from the physical fitness training, the foresters and guards — most of them graduates and a few postgraduates — have been taken to various national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests in the State.
This was to familiarise themselves with the flora and fauna and to derive practical ideas of conservation and modern forest management.