Roing: In a major boost to the ‘Airgun Surrender Abhiyan’ of the state’s forest and environment department, one Puinnyo Apum, a native of Lower Dibang Valley district on Thursday voluntarily surrendered his .22 caliber airgun worth Rs 3.5 lakh to the department.
This is the most expensive gun to be voluntarily surrendered by any individual till date under the Airgun Surrender Abhiyan, a campaign that aims to dissuade wildlife hunting and create awareness on the ill-effects of killing wildlife in the state.
Apum said he does not expect any compensation from the department in exchange for the airgun as it was more of a voluntary move and one “for a good cause”.
“The Airgun Surrender Abhiyan is a great initiative and we should all support it in the ways we can,” he said, appealing to all to come forward and surrender their airguns as well.
Apum said he had bought the airgun from Assam for shooting purposes, as he is also a member of the Arunachal Pradesh Shooting Association (APSA).
“I occasionally used the gun for target shooting practice but never for hunting. I know the airgun I’ve surrendered is a costly one but it is more important to protect wildlife,” he said.
Apum suggested that the department should try to compensate or at least provide incentives in some form or the other to those who are not financially sound and have still been surrendering their airguns.
“Nevertheless, the idea of the forest and environment department to build a hall to archive the guns and also engrave the names of the people who surrendered them is not bad at all,” he said.
The Air gun Surrender Abhiyan, a brainchild of forest and environment department minister Mama Natung has been spinning a new hope for wildlife conservation in Arunachal since it launched in March last year,
Over 2,000 weapons have been given up by the people voluntarily since the launch of the campaign which has also witnessed the appreciation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi among many others.
76 airguns surrendered:
A total of 76 airguns were voluntarily deposited by the locals at the Airgun Surrender Abhiyan programme organised by the Dibang forest division at the Giidi Notko Hall near Roing on Thursday.
Addressing the gathering, minister Natung appreciated the people for showering their support to the campaign.
“It is time that we come forward to protect and preserve the environment by participating in the campaign. Killing of wild animals and the destruction of forests needs to be stopped. The public leaders from the village level should voluntarily create awareness of the importance of conserving wildlife and environment,” he said.
Natung said the message of the campaign is very clear.
“People should know this campaign directly helps in minimising global warming,” he said.
The minister also appealed to the neighbouring states to initiate such campaigns so that the environment and wildlife can be protected on a larger level.
Natung said that around 550 bird species discovered in the state need to be protected before they become extinct. The Lower Dibang Valley district administration should immediately issue an order in the public domain to surrender airguns and guns, he added.
Roing legislator Mutchu Mithi said the outcome of the campaign has been huge and that the people should not forget protection of wildlife is a tradition in many tribes, especially among the Idu-Mishmi.
He said the forest, tribal identity and wildlife are the three aspects of life that need to be protected.
“If one is destroyed, the others are destroyed automatically. Therefore, we should protect all three aspects of life for a healthy and beautiful life on earth,” Mithi said.
Dambuk MLA Gum Tayeng also appealed to the people to refrain from hunting and consuming wild animals.