TEZPUR, May 23 – A major eco-tourism attraction, Nameri National Park, located along the Assam-Arunachal border in Sonitpur district, which is known for its virgin natural beauty and world famous wild mahsir, which is locally known as seelghariya, is facing a serious threat due to the free movement of a section of poachers and encroachment.
It is to be noted here that the beautiful landscape located along the Assam-Arunachal border, some 35 km away from here, covers an area of 212 sq km.
During the British regime, the Nadwar forest area was declared as the second reserve forest of Assam and a part of it was included into the present Nameri National Park. This part of the Nadwar forest area after 1997 achieved the status of national park following which it was selected as a suitable spot for the tiger project on May 1, 2000.
As different species of wild animals existed in the park the then forest official of west Assam division (wild life) Ranjan Kumar Das alongwith some other dedicated officials including late PC Das submitted a proposal to the government of Assam in 1984 urging Nameri to be declared as a national park. Based on the PC Das proposal the government of Assam placed Nameri in the Assam gazette as National Park on September 18, 1985. After the KNP and Manas, Nameri is the third National Park of the State.
However, the nature lovers following the decrease in the number of its valuable wild animals alongwith trees etc and after witnessing the encroachment problem have expressed their total dissatisfaction and urged the forest department and the government of Assam to take special measures for saving it.
While talking to this correspondent, coordinator of Nature’s Banyapran, a frontline NGO working in the field of the forest and wildlife, Ajai Sharma said expressing his total annoyance over the role of the Forest department and the State government said that though the Forest department has initiated every possible measure to save the forest areas of the State by implementing the laws and forming various committees etc. yet the problem of the poachers and encroachment have posed a serious threat to the very existence of the Nameri National Park.
It is noteworthy that the Nameri National Park which is a major attraction for the tourists has 374 species of birds, 29 tiger, different species of butterflies, wild pig, pigmy hog, different species of deer and elephants, different species of snakes and the wild mahsir of Jiabharali river, white winged wood duck which is locally known as Deohah. There is provision for angling, rafting, it has a beautiful eco-camp, different types of medicinal plants are found in the park etc but the park has some major problems.
It is alleged that the park still lacks facilities like sufficient staff and arms and ammunition.
Moreover, though there are altogether 11 camps inside the national park, but during the rainy season following the lack of a proper vehicle it becomes tough to patrol the entire park only by two elephants of department.
Nameri is yet to be facilitated with a jeep safari unlike the KNP and Manas National Park. On the other hand some part of the tiger project belonging to the park is suffering from encroachment.
But the positive thing is that even after the lots of problems and poor infrastructure, every kind of facility for the tourist is available here. Though there is no bungalow in the park, the Forest department through the “Ethno-Tourism Project” in the neighbouring forest villages has made every possible arrangement for receiving the tourists.