Kamrup (Metro) picks up scavenger Hargila as ‘mascot’ to encourage Lok Sabha election turnout

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Guwahati: The Kamrup (Metro) district of Assam has picked up the scavenger Hargila as ‘mascot’ to encourage electorates to turn out in larger number and exercise their franchise in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election.

On the International Women’s Day, the Kamrup (Metro) district administration decided to name ‘Tutola’ and ‘Kadami’, both Greater Adjutant Stork, locally known as the Hargila, as the mascot under the SVEEP initiative of the Election Commission of India.

Selecting the Hargila birds as the SVEEP mascot, the Kamrup (Metro) district administration acknowledged the great effort of thousand of dedicated and empowered women in making significant strides in conservation of the scavenger bird from the brink of extinction.

SVEEP is the flagship program of the Election Commission of India for voter education, spreading voter awareness and promoting voter literacy in India.

It is a multi-intervention programme to educate citizens, electors, and voters about the electoral process in order to increase their awareness and promote their informed participation.

SVEEP is designed according to the socio-economic, cultural, and demographic profile of the state as well as history of electoral participation in previous rounds of elections.
Internationally acclaimed wildlife biologist Dr Purnima Devi Barman and well known actor Diganta Hazarika encouraged the electorates to be aware of the rights, and come forward to exercise their franchise.

Wildlife biologist Dr Purnima Devi Barman, driven by a deep passion to protect these rare birds, earned her the coveted Green Oscar and the UN’s Champions of the Earth awards.

The Greater Adjutant Stork, often misunderstood as a bad omen or disease carrier, faced severe threats from a population that wanted to eradicate it. The misconception led to almost extinction of the scavenger bird.

With the group of dedicated and empower women, popularly known as the Hargila, Dr. Purnima Devi Barman has played the proactive role of salvaging the last surviving population from the brink of extinction.

The Hargila, essential as scavengers and part of nature’s cleaning crew, became the focal point of a movement that gradually evolved into an empowerment initiative for the women involved.

Sumit Sattawan, a 2016 batch IAS officer, and the district magistrate of Kamrup (Metro) district joined hands with the Hargila Army to promote larger turnout in the Lok Sabha election.

The Hargila Army boasts more than 10,000 women conservationists who are actively contributing to the cause. These women, considered the true heroes of conservation, have become the biggest advocates for the Greater Adjutant Stork, working tirelessly to increase its population and ensure its survival.

In 1896, College of Arms, which is based in London and solely responsible for granting and assigning of Coat of Arms in the British Empire, allotted a Coat of Arms represented by two Greater Adjutant Storks holding serpents in their beaks and carrying a Crown on their shoulders to the Calcutta (now Kolkata) Municipal Corporation.

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