Kaziranga National Park to be extended

A One-horned Rhinoceros in Kaziranga
Ramki Sreenivasan
Kaziranga hosts two-thirds of the world's Great One-horned Rhinoceroses.

The Assam government is set to complete the legal process for extension of the Kaziranga National Park from the present 430 square kilometres to double the area. The State’s forest and tourism minister, Rockybul Hussain, said the government was expeditiously trying to settle the land acquisition process for the extension so that animals, including the prized one-horned rhinos, were better protected.

Although the park has already more than 800 sq. km. area, it was not legally sanctioned thus preventing the authorities from removing human settlements in the proposed extended area. Asserting that there was no encroachment in the existing forest area, Mr. Hussain recently said, “Very soon we will have the legal formalities completed for the area expansion.”

The minister said steps were being taken to plant saplings in 20,000 hectares. A process was also on to raise an Assam Forest Protection Force.

Mr. Hussain, who also holds the charge of the State’s Information and Public Relation department, said an initiative had been taken to project the state’s development in proper perspective through booklets, banners, hoardings and documentaries. The Minister said efforts were on to boost schemes and attracts more and more tourists to the State.

Internationally-acclaimed film-maker Jahnu Baruah has been roped in to popularise the tourism sector in a big way, the Minister said.

The public toilets under Sulabh International would be set up in public places along the national and State highways, Mr. Hussain said.

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