News Desk: Assam has decided to take the necessary steps to upgrade the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary into a national park. On Monday Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal held a meeting with the officials of the Forest Department in this regard.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal tweeted on Monday, “Our Govt. has decided to upgrade the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, which is home to a vast variety of flora and fauna, to a National Park. In a meeting with senior officials in Guwahati today, I have directed them to take necessary steps in this regard”.
Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary is located within the larger Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve, which spreads across the coal- and oil-rich districts of Upper Assam (Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, and Sivasagar) and is believed to be the last remaining contiguous patch of lowland rainforest area in Assam.
State Environment and Forest Minister, Parimal Suklabaidya, said, “The announcement is not related to the mining controversy. We had been considering the upgrade for a while now. Dehing Patkai is our property, our pride and we have to do our best to preserve it. As a national park, its importance will increase and new rules will bring increased vigilance to the area.”
Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) and Head of Forest Force, AM Singh said, “[Some] human activities can be allowed inside a wildlife sanctuary, but no human activity is allowed in a national park”.
An official from the forest department said on condition of anonymity, that extending the sanctuary’s boundaries may not be easy. “Many agencies like Coal India Limited, Oil India Limited have leases in the area. Those will have to be settled. Community views have to be considered,” he said, “The curb on mining activities will depend on how exactly the boundary is defined,” he added.
Post-up-gradation, Dehing Patkai will be the sixth national park in Assam. The other five being Kaziranga, Nameri, Manas, Orang, and Dibru-Saikhowa.
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