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

Wildlife activists in Assam are apprehensive that appointment of a tainted IFS official as the new director of Kaziranga National Park (KNP)may be “harmful” to the conservation works in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are reports that P Sivakumar, director of Kaziranga National Park may be transferred after he was entangled in a controversy over his wife’s adventurous night safari in search of tigers in the wild habitat.

But, wildlife activists said the reports of possibilities of appointment of Ranjan Kumar Das as the Kaziranga National Park director is a cause of worry.

Ranjan Kumar Das, a 2001 batch IFS officer, has always been in controversy, and was accused of being hand-in-gloves with infamous elephant smuggler Mumtaz Siddique of Upper Assam.

The tainted IFS official had recently played a pro-active role in transportation of several elephants to Gujarat.

The tainted IFS official was suspended when he was the DFO of Digboi Forest Division.

He was accused of working in tandem with mafias to plunder forest resources like boulders, gravel, sand and many precious trees at Upper Dehing Forest Reserve.

There are reports that Ranjan Kumar Das was also suspended when he was posted in Sonitpur district.

Ranjan Kumar Das’s younger brother, Rajib Kumar Das, who was the DFO of Golaghat Forest Division, was arrested by the Bureau of Investigation of Economic Offences (BIEO) in August 2018 in Guwahati.

The younger brother of the tainted IFS official was allegedly involved in sand mining scam at Doigrong river sand mahal, and was absconding for about four months.

Rajib Kumar Das, along with one contractor, Abdul Hasmat, was caught issuing duplicate challan and transit permit for illegal operation at the Doigrong river sand mahal.

“If he (Ranjan Kumar Das) is appointment as director of Kaziranga National Park, all conservation projects is going to fail,” one of the wildlife activists said.

The wildlife activists said P Sivakumar has been a good and dynamic official, and had brought in a lot of positive changes in the management of Kaziranga National Park.

Interestingly, a section of members of the Kaziranga Jeep Safari Association are all out to ensure transfer of Sivakumar.

The members of the Jeep Safari Association are not happy with Sivakumar as he had initiated strict regulations.

A lot of jeeps operating in Kaziranga National Park were found to be without proper papers, most of the vehicles did not have pollution certificates and insurance.

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