The Assam government has decided to upgrade the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary to national park status. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal with senior government officials on July 6.
“Our Govt has decided to upgrade the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, which is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, to a national park. In a meeting with senior officials in Guwahati today, I have directed them to take necessary steps in this regard,” CM Sonowal tweeted.
A proposal will be put to the central government for approval and clearance.
The granting of national park status to Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary will mean better management of the existing flora and fauna in this most extensive stretch of lowland rainforest in India. The additional funds will provide a significant boost to the infrastructural management of the area.
The decision comes after conservationists in the state fought a long battle demanding the conversion of the sanctuary into a national park.
Apruba Ballav Goswami, a conservationist & a senior journalist who lead the movement, says, “I welcome the government’s decision. The Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary is Assam’s Amazon. The national park status to it will surely go a long way. It is a virgin rainforest rich in bio-diversity. I feel someday it could be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”
In June, protests erupted after the National Board of Wildlife granted permission for mining coal at an elephant reserve near Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary. Gauhati High Court admitted a PIL challenging the decision of the National Board of Wildlife.
Located in Upper Assam, the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary is home to more than 47 species of mammals, reptiles and 310 species of butterflies.