The deputy chief of BTAD, Khampa Borgayary has acknowledged the role of local people and the NGOs in the rejuvenation of Manas National Park cum Tiger Project.
Addressing a public meeting at Bansbari under the park held on the occasion of opening of the park for tourists for the ensuing tourism season and celebration of 65th Wildlife Week, Bargayary said that people of the country had almost bade farewell to the world famous park 15 years ago. They had begun to say, “It is gone”. But after the formation of the BTAD, he took the challenge of reviving the park to its past glory and his efforts have begun to bear fruits now.
Referring to association of the people and the NGOs, Bargayary informed that local youths are now adept enough to nurture tourism and they have understood the importance of conservation. He said that a number of new local NGOs together with national and international NGOs like WWF, WTI and ATREE have played a commendable job in the revival process. It is because of the united process that it could get back the status of World Heritage Site.
However, the deputy chief acknowledged that still there is a lot to be done. He informed that an area of 360 sq km has been annexed with the park and this area along with the areas towards the west of Beki river must be developed at par with the eastern part of the park. Borgayary also disclosed some schemes, both ongoing and proposed, for the conservation of the park, attract tourists, generate employment and mitigate man-elephant conflict. He also urged the park authorities to begin the eviction work on the encroached area and assured all help and cooperation from the BTC administration and the Assam Government.
Delivering the welcome address in the meeting, Amal Sarma, Field Director of the park narrated the importance of the Wildlife Week. He informed that there were as many as 42 endemic and critically endangered animals in Manas including pigmy hog and golden langur. He asserted that the improved situation has yielded positive results and the number of animals have been increasing in the park and at present there are 35 tigers and 41 rhinos. He stated that a scheme, grassland management is the need of the hour as most of the grassland is covered by invasive weeds. Sarma informed that there has been a rise of tourist flow to this park and the park authorities has earned more than one crore of revenue from tourists last year. He disclosed that they will concentrate on attracting foreign tourists this year.
Thaneswar Basumatary, MLA Chapaguri constituency gave an outline of the steps taken by BTAD regarding engagement of youths in tourism. AM Singh, PCCF, Government of Assam claimed that poaching in Manas has almost came to an end for which wildlife within it has increased and tourist are coming. Speaking on the occasion, Bhaskar Pegu, Deputy Commissioner of Baksa laid emphasis on keeping the park eco-friendly and urged the people to cooperate with the authorities in this regard.
A number of dignitaries including A Swargiary, CHD BTAD, Robinson Muchahary, Additional Principal Secretary BTAD, Carol Narzary, Secretary BTAD, Sandip Punia, Commandant SSB and HK Sarma, CCF, Assam took part in the programme.