Nature’s Beckon, an environment activist group has welcome the decision by Assam chief minister, Sarbananda Sonowal to expand the area of Dihing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary and its subsequent up-gradation to that of a national park.
The Dihing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary located in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts, has the largest tropical rainforest in the state.
“The up-gradation of the 231.65 sq. km rainforest to a national park is a revolutionary event in the history of nature conservation in the state as well as the country,” said Soumyadeep Datta, director of Nature’s Beckon
Since 1994 the organization has been spearheading the ‘rainforest conservation movement of Assam’ to demand complete protection of the rainforest.
Although a small portion of this rainforest was accorded the status of wildlife sanctuary in 2004, the most luxuriant part of the rainforest, the Jeypore Reserved forest was not included.
In the meantime, the devastating pursuit of extracting coal and crude oil from the reserved forest continued unabated.
The organization claimed that it will very soon reveal the evil nexus of politicians and government officials, who tried all means to destroy the reserved forest in pursuit of their personal means.
“We are grateful to the chief minister for his bold intervention in defeating the coal mafias and illegal timber lobby as well as the negative force which tried to destroy the rainforest for crude oil and coal,” said Datta.
“The biggest challenge of the rainforest conservation movement was to protect the reserved forest in the form of either wildlife sanctuary or national park. We are hopeful that in due course of time this largest patch of the rainforest will eventually get protected,” Datta added.
The Jeypore rainforest alone is home to approximately 206 elephants in today’s date and is an ideal natural habitat for hoolock gibbons.
This rainforest is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Few notable wildlife species include the hoolock gibbon, slow loris, elephant, gaur, tiger, leopard, clouded leopard, golden cat, fishing cat, marble cat, sambar, hog deer, sloth bear, binturong, sotted linsang, sultan tit, hill myna, green imperial pigeon and many more.
Villagers of the adjoining villages have also played an important role in the protection of this rainforest.
The organization also requested the state government to expedite the process of strengthening the infrastructure of Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary.