Assam forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya on Wednesday said that
Assam has become the second state in the country to have the highest number of National Parks after Madhya Pradesh.
Addressing a press conference in Guwahati on Wednesday, Suklabaidya said, “Raimona and Dihing Patkai National Parks have been formally notified, adding to Assam’s total tally of seven National Parks. The newly created national parks will help to boost conservation efforts and provide fillip to tourism and agriculture sectors.”
He said the declaration of Raimona National Park was made by the Assam Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma on the occasion of World Environment Day (5 June 2021).
The ‘Raimona National Park’ covering 422 kms is situated in Gossaigaon subdivision of Kokrajhar district and will be administered by Kachugaon Forest Division of BTC, Assam.
“The newly created park will also help in fulfilling recommendations of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Committee to consider extension of the Manas World Heritage site property in three stages,” the minister said.
The area was one of the oldest Reserved Forest (RF) of the state with a history of one of the finest scientific management during the late 19th century. The historical introduction of ‘Rides’ construction of ‘Tramway’ in 1901 was a feature of the modern forestry management practices at that point of time.
“With Phipsoo Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan to it’s north, Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal to it’s west and the first addition to Manas and Manas National Park to its east, Raimona lies in a 2300 sq km transboundary landscape which is essential for long ranging wildlife like elephants and tigers,” he said.
The area is already a part of buffer of the Manas Tiger Reserve. With
eleven different forest types and subtypes, the area is home to the Golden Langur, Elephant, Tiger, Clouded Leopard, Indian Gaur, Wild Buffalo, Spotted deer, hornbills, several species of
orchids and has more than 150 species of butterflies, 170 species of birds besides 380 species of plants,” the forest official stated.
“Conservation of this area shall provide water security to more than 20 lakh people downstream in Kokrajhar and Dhubri district and open the door of opportunities both at national and international level in promotion of community based tourism, focused wildlife management and ensure biodiversity for future generations,” said Parimal Suklabaidya.
He said government of Assam has added another jewel in the crown of its history of wildlife conservation by notifying Dihing Patkai as a National Park.
He further informed that last year the government had upgraded Dehing Patkai as National Park.
“This National Park, a contiguous
stretch of forests, starting from Upper Dihing Reserve Forests in the East (under Digboi Division, Tinsukia District) up to the Jeypore RF (under Dibrugarh Division, Dibrugarh District),
comprises some pristine forests along the Assam-Arunachal interstate boundary, classified as Assam Valley Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests,” he said.
Popularly known as Dihing Patkai Rain Forest, it has unique floral and faunal diversity, which was recognized by the Government of Assam in 2004, when 111.19 sq. km. of this area was notified as Dihing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary.
Forest and wildlife conservation have now been strengthened here by adding another 123.07 sq.kms to the original sanctuary area and conferring National Park status to 234.26 sq. km,
with the highest level of protection available under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Notification of the National Park includes areas falling within the existing Dihing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary along with all the additional Reserve Forests i.e. Upper Dihing RF (West Block) and Jeypore RF.
However, Forest Village area diverted under Forest Conservation Act has been excluded.