Guwahati: To investigate into the alleged illegal coal mining and destruction of biodiversity in Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal constituted a one-man inquiry commission on Saturday.
Former Gauhati High Court Judge Brajendra Prasad Katakey will head the inquiry commission which will investigate all the alleged cases relating to the wildlife sanctuary since 2003.
Earlier, the state government had already decided to upgrade the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary to a national park.
“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.
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.
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The decision comes after conservationists in the state have been fighting a long battle demanding the conversion of the sanctuary into a national park.
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.