Assam’s Dehing Patkai upgraded as national park

The government of Assam has added another jewel in the crown of its history of wildlife conservation by notifying Dehing Patkai has been notified as a national park by the Assam government on June 9. After this, the state has seven national parks.

This Dehing Patkai national park, a contiguous stretch of forests, starting from Upper Dihing reserve Forests in the east (under Digboi division, Tinsukia district) up to the Jeypore reserve forest (under Dibrugarh division, Dibrugarh district), comprises some pristine forests along the Assam-Arunachal interstate boundary, classified as Assam Valley Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests.

Popularly known as Dehing Patkai Rain Forest, it has unique floral and faunal diversity, which was recognised by the Assam government in 2004, when 111.19 sq km of this area was notified as Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary.

Forest and wildlife conservation have now been strengthened here by adding another 123.07 sq km to the original sanctuary area and conferring national park status to 234.26 sq km with the highest level of protection available under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Notification of the national park includes areas falling within the existing Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary along with all the additional reserve forests — Upper Dihing reserve forest (west block) and Jeypore reserve forest.

However, the forest village area diverted under Forest Conservation Act has been excluded.

Short stretches of Dirak and Buri Dihing rivers falling within this contiguous patch of the proposed national park have been included.

The newly notified national park shall be administered by Soraipung range of Digboi division and Jeypore range of Dibrugarh division, both falling under conservator, eastern Assam circle, who shall be notified as director of Dehing Patkai national park.

For intensive patrolling and conservation of the new area, additional anti-poaching camps and manpower is being provided by the state government.

On June 5, Raimona national park has been added to the list. The other national parks are Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Nameri National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and Orang National Park.

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