Airgun Surrender Abhiyan gets a boost from PM

The “Airgun Surrender Abhiyan” initiated by a call from the Arunachal Pradesh forest department
to deposit airguns, which are widely used to shoot birds in the state, has yielded phenomenal outcome in just 10 months.

Forest minister Mama Natung took the initiative to spread awareness and encourage people to lay down the airguns, after these permitted weapons became easily accessible online and other sources.

For some, keeping an airgun is a privilege. An airgun worth Rs 90,000, a prized possession, was surrendered by Khyoda Takam, gram panchayat member of Peeth village recently for the cause of wildlife conservation.

Officials in the forest department said this campaign has shown the way how change comes into effect when mere laws cannot prevent people from harming forest and environment. Abhinav Kumar, DFO of Hapoli forest division headquartered at Ziro in Arunachal, which contributed significantly to the success of the campaign, said the mission is still in its nascent stage. “What’s happening here is more like a domino effect. People see others surrendering and they also come up. Every other day one or two airguns are being surrendered,” he added .The Arms Rules, 2016 in Arunachal were recently amended in 2018 and for the first time airguns were brought under the purview of some kind of licensing.

Prime Minister Modi also congratulated the people of Arunachal, and termed the surrender of over 1,600 airguns in the state a remarkable achievement that has set an example of voluntary steps to save birds and wildlife. “In this campaign, people are voluntarily surrendering their airguns – do you know why? So that indiscriminate hunting of birds can be stopped in Arunachal Pradesh. Friends, Arunachal Pradesh is home to more than 500 species of birds. These include some indigenous species, which are not found anywhere else in the world. But gradually, now the number of birds in the forests has started declining. This airgun surrender campaign is going on now to rectify this very situation,” Modi said.

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