Forest guards in flooded Manas National Park. Image credit - Northeast Now

The recent wave of flood in Assam has severely affected the Orang National Park and Tiger Reserve in Darrang district along with nearly 84,000 people of 90 revenue villages.

According to the park authority, half of the 40 forest camps have been submerged by the overflowing waters of rivers Brahmaputra and Dhanshri.

Belsiri, Kathgarha and Jhaoni are the worst affected camps, which are reeling under six feet deep waters while the other camps are also under 3/4 feet floodwaters.

There has been no report of loss of any wildlife as they already moved to the highlands for taking shelter.

So far, there is no scarcity of food as half of the park is still free from flood, sources stated.

However, regular patrolling by forest guards still remains a big challenge.

During a visit by a group of local media persons inside the park recently it came to light that the forest guards left for patrolling duty barefoot with rifles on their shoulders.

Their condition was vulnerable with possible life threats from wild animals, poisonous snakes, blood hooking leech apart from bullets of poachers who always look for turning the disaster into their opportunities.

One senior forest staff member commented before the media team that patrolling on foot is a regular phenomenon for them during flood time.

He informed that to face this challenge, they use hand-driven country boats considering their accessibility.

The media people in a country boat were also escorted by the forest guards on foot.

As per reports available with this correspondent, the park authority is well equipped with disaster risk reduction materials including eight motorboats nearly 20 country boats with oars, life jackets, gum boots and leech guards for almost every forest guard.

It is a matter of concern for the conscious section of the people why do the park authorities leave the staff to work in such a vulnerable condition.

Mayukh Goswami

Mayukh Goswami is Northeast Now Correspondent in Mangaldai. He can be reached at: mayukh.mld@gmail.com