Namdapha National park in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh is facing massive deforestation threat because of illegal felling down of trees by the timber smugglers.
Namdapha National Park with an area of 1,985 km (766 square miles) was declared as tiger reserve under Project Tiger scheme in 1983.
Sources said everyday timber smugglers chop down trees in Namdapha National park and take the logs to saw mills.
The smugglers are destroying the forest resource for their own benefit.
Sources alleged that the timber smugglers are hand in gloves with the officials of Forest department.
Society for Education and Environmental Development (SEED), an environmental NGO alleged that rampant deforestation has been going on in Namdapha National Park.
“Namdapha National Park had very rich in forest cover but now due to deforestation it has been losing it richness. We are organising awarness programme among the locals tribe for the conservation of forest. Community participation is necessary to conserve the forest,” said Minom Pertin, deputy director of SEED NGO.
Namdapha National Park is the third largest national park in India, in terms of area.
It is located in the eastern most corner of Arunachal Pradesh.
Namdapha National park established in the year 1972 was declared national park and a tiger reserve in the year 1983.
Sources said trucks loaded with logs were seen coming out from the forest and the Forest department fails to stop the trucks.
Many saw mills are opened in front of the national park under the nose of the district administration.
“Namdapha National Park seem to be either mismanaged or totally ignored considering the problems of accessibility, rampant deforestation, human influx, extraction of forest produce, hunting and a buffer zone concept which seems to be total failure,” said a source.
Illegal settlement inside the park is one of the big issues but it seems that the government is not prioritizing the issue.
Talking to this correspondent, Isaac Kehimkar, an environmentalist from Mumbai and a frequent visitor at Namdapha said, “From 1993 I am coming to Namdapha which is known as one of the rich forests in India but now it seems that it has lost its forest cover due to deforestation.”
“The Arunachal government should take adequate step to conserve the Namdapha National Park. I loved this place because I love butterfly and many rare species of butterfly found here,” he added.
Namdapha, being part of the Indo-Myanmar biodiversity hotspot, is supposedly the only park in the world to harbour four species of large cats – tigers, snow leopards, clouded leopards and leopards.
“Namdapha is a tiger reserve under project tiger but now it seems that due to utter neglect by the Forest department it is losing its beauty. Many tribes in Arunachal Pradesh are dependent on forest but the conservation of forest is also necessary,” a source said.
Deputy Commissioner of Changlang district said, “I am not aware about the issue because it is run by a independent body. I cannot comment on the issue.”
Despite several attempts, the field director of Namdapha tiger reserve, Miao, Tapek Riba could not be contacted.