Assam’s Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary, within the eye of an argument final 12 months following allegations of unlawful coal mining, was Wednesday notified as a nationwide park. The announcement comes shortly after Raimona reserve forest in western Assam’s Kokrajhar district was upgraded to a nationwide park on June 5.

“We had 5 nationwide parks — Kaziranga, Nameri, Orang, Manas and Dibru-Saikhowa. With Raimona and Dehing Patkai, we’ll now have seven,” mentioned Assam Forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya, addressing a press convention on Wednesday.

Suklabaidya mentioned that the brand new parks would assist promote conservation efforts and help tourism and agriculture sectors as effectively. He added that Assam now’s the state with the second highest variety of nationwide parks within the nation, after Madhya Pradesh’s 11. The Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar has 9 nationwide parks.

The 111.942-sqkm Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary (notified in 2004) is positioned contained in the bigger Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve, which spreads throughout Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Sivasagar districts of Higher Assam — wealthy in coal and oil — and is believed to be the final remaining contiguous patch of lowland rainforest space in Assam.

As a nationwide park, it’ll now embrace further reserve forests (western block of theUpper Dihing RF and Jeypore RF) and measure 234.26 sq. km. Forest Village space diverted underneath Forest Conservation Act has been excluded, mentioned a launch from the Division of Setting and Forests.

Recognized for its elephant inhabitants, Dehing Patkai has 47 mammal species, 47 reptile species and 310 butterfly species. The world is particularly a draw for ornithologists since it’s mentioned to have the very best focus of the uncommon endangered White Winged Wooden Duck.

The Raimona nationwide park is surrounded by the Phipsoo Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan to its north, the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal to its west and the Manas Nationwide Park to its east. “With eleven totally different forest sorts and subtypes, the world is dwelling to the golden langurs, elephants, tiger, clouded leopard, a number of species of orchids and has greater than 150 species of butterflies, 170 species of birds apart from 380 species of vegetation,” the discharge mentioned.

Final 12 months in April, Dehing Patkai was in focus after a sequence of digital protests highlighted rampant unlawful coal mining within the space. The quick set off was the Nationwide Board of Wildlife’s (NBWL) conditional clearance to a coal mining mission by Coal India Restricted (CIL) within the Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve (of which the wildlife sanctuary is a component). It led to North Japanese Coalfields (NEC), the CIL subsidiary, briefly suspending all mining operations within the area.

The choice to improve it to a nationwide park was introduced by the Sarbananda Sonowal authorities in July 2020, simply months after the controversy.

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