Kaziranga National Park
Entrance of Kaziranga National Park, Image credit - Northeast Now

Failing to execute livelihood development scheme for people in fringe villages around the Kaziranga National Park (KNP), Assam government will now have to return Rs 24.57 crore fund.

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in September 2017 had released a fund of Rs 24.57 crore for improving livelihood of the people in the villages around the Kaziranga National Park.

“The project was sanctioned under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC),” a senior official of NABARD told Northeast Now on Thursday.

A total of 26 projects across the country were funded by NABARD under the NAFCC with a funding amount of Rs. 660.72 crore.

In Assam, the scheme was titled, ‘Management of Ecosystem of Kaziranga National Park by Creating Climate Resilient Livelihood for Vulnerable Communities through Organic farming and Pond Based Pisciculture.”

But, in last two years, the Assam forest department officials could not find time to utilize the money for the welfare of the villagers around Kzairanga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The KNP authorities had to return the money as they failed to implement the project before the closure date, which is September 2019.

“The project could not be implemented here due to various reasons,” P Shiv Kumar, director of the KNP, said.

Kumar said they could not do any major intervention under the project till May 2019.

“We have been asked to return the money by the Central government recently as the project closure date is September 2019,” he said.

It was reported that Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had also pulled up the forest officials during his recent visit to Kaziranga for failing to implement the livelihood project.

In Northeast, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Assam, Sikkim and Nagaland were among the 26 states which were granted projects under the NAFCC of the NABARD.

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