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Sunday, December 20, 2009

WWF team visits Khalingduar Reserve Forest of Assam,India

WWF team visits Khalingduar Reserve Forest of Assam,India

A delegation of International wildlife experts recently visited Jalimukh, the most enchanting tourist spot in Khalingduar RF under Dhansiri Forest Division,Udalguri on December 17.The wildlife team headed by Daniel Rothberg, Grant Director of Conservational International, USA visited a few places of nature and wildlife importance inside the reserve forest including  the most beautiful Jalimukh ( 26 48’21 N and 91 42’31E, elevation 150 M ).The other members of the visiting team were Julie (USA); Sarala Khaleng ,(Nepal);Dipankar Ghosh,of  ATREE Bangalore. Dr.Anupam Sarma, Coordinator of North Bank Landscaping Programme,WWF India guided the delegation team through the areas.The visiting members had discussion with office bearers of a few NGOs and organizations at Dimakuchi TE Staff Club in the same day, The president and secretary of Udalguri district ABSU and members of Green Valley Forest and Wildlife Protection Society ( a Nonaipar based NGO engaged in the conservation of flora and faunas of Assam) headed by its CEO Ananta Bagh met the members of the delegation  to apprise them of the present situation in Udalguri district. Ananta Bagh drew special  attention of the delegates on the necessity of a massive search operation to find the signs of Pigmy Hog (Nal Gahori) available only in Barnadi wildlife Sanctuary. The pigmy hog was last seen in the sanctuary in 1984 .He also informed the world body members about the so called man-elephant conflict in Udalguri district resulting deaths of more than 10 wild elephants and 12 human beings in the year 2009.

It needs mention that very poor infrastructure like broken bridges, inaccessible  forest roads, insufficient forest staff, lack of modern surveillance materials like GPS, wireless systems, old weaponry like 315 bore rifle, unrepaired houses for staff and tourists etc had crippled tourism sector in Udalguri district in BTAD. The apathy of Assam government and BTAD authority could well be the reason for the present dismal picture remarked a few nature loving people of the locality. They alleged that money could never be the factor as lakhs of rupees had regularly been spend on the occasion of any organizational ceremony, political meetings etc. whereas it was really hard to sanction a few thousand rupees for repairing a broken forest house or bridge. Unless the BTAD leaderships understood  the needs for solving all the problems, nothing would change. Although several new tourist IB s had been constructed at Nonai Range Office, Suklai ,Bogamati and Samran, these IBs have neither been opened for tourists nor  equipped with furniture and water supply.The members of  print and electronic media personals, including this correspondent were stunned to see the horrible condition of the houses at Barnadi Wildlife Santuary  on December 19, 2009.It was quite unlikely that tourists would be attracted to the sanctuary. Forest personals complained that they had to carry water from a distance of 4-5 KM for their personal use. When contacted Bankim Sarma,DFO  Dhansiri Forest Division,Udalguri said that a scheme of water supply for Barnadi Wildlife Santuary had already been sanctioned for implementation. Nature lovers urged the forest and BTAD authority immediately to appoint a full time Range Officer along with sufficient staff with weapon and electronic gadgets at Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary. Another urgent necessity of a Jipsy, Bolero or Sumo vehicle was felt during the stay at Nonai Forest range Office under Khalingduar RF.Tourists as well as forest personals would be able to move fast with a good condition vehicle. WWF India is also requested to come forward for the development of the infrastructure of both the Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Khalingduar RF which would turn Jalimukh,Samran,Barnadi and Bogamati as tourist’s hot spot.

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