Assam's Kaziranga National Park to be expanded to ensure animal corridors are obstacle-free

The movement of animals to nearby hills of Karbi Anglong district on the other side of the highway, especially during annual floods, is a common phenomenon.

Published: 18th July 2019 07:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th July 2019 07:46 PM   |  A+A-


Rhinos with a calf at a highland during floods at the Kaziranga National Park in Nagaon district in Assam. (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

KAZIRANGA: The Kaziranga National Park in Assam will be expanded, park authorities said. The reason behind the state government’s move to expand the park areas is to ensure that the animal corridors are free from obstacles. The government is ready to buy the land of private parties.

Over the past few years, hotels and resorts have mushroomed along National Highway 37 that passes through the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The movement of animals to nearby hills of Karbi Anglong district on the other side of the highway, especially during annual floods, is a common phenomenon. Elephants move between the park and the hills throughout the year.

Kaziranga field director P Sivakumar said the move to buy land from private parties was in the process.

“During monsoon, the animals move to hilly areas in Karbi Anglong and after the monsoon, they return to the park’s grasslands. This is part of the ecosystem. We have to ensure that the corridors are free from blockades. Corridor areas are government and private land. You cannot tell them (private parties) to vacate land as it is their property,” Sivakumar told this newspaper.

Given the complexities, he said in certain areas, the forest department might have to go for land purchase. If the villagers are cooperative, the forest department can remove the boundary walls. It will ensure the smooth passage of the animals, he said. 

Sivakumar has no doubt the landowners can be kept in good humour only if the government gives them a good package.

“There are some legal issues going on as regards the purchase of land. People purchase land with a business motive. They are constructing resorts and hotels and suddenly, if we say they have to hand over their land to park authorities, they will definitely object. As such, we have to look for a good package. If we can give a good package, we can definitely handle the issue. We are working on it,” he added.

There are rampant mining activities along the park and catchment area of rivers originating in Karbi Anglong. In last April, the Supreme Court had passed an order banning the activities. It ordered that no new construction would be permitted on private lands that fall under nine identified animal corridors.

The 430 sq km Kaziranga is home to world’s largest population of Indian one-horned rhinoceroses. Spread across floodplains of the Brahmaputra, its forests, wetlands and grasslands are also home to a large number of tigers, elephants, deer, wild boars etc. 


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