KOKRAJHAR, June 10: The newly created Raimona National Park was formally inaugurated by environment and forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya at Kachugaon in Kokrajhar district on Thursday.
Inaugurating the park, Suklabaidya said that the opening of the Raimona National Park within a record span of time will herald development in the entire Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) in particular and the state in general.
Suklabaidya said following the announcement by chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, on World Environment Day at a plantation programme at Gandhi Mandap, two national parks have come up in the state within a week.
He said the park will boost conservation efforts and provide a fillip to tourism in a big way.
Giving a clarion call to the people to conserve nature, Suklabaidya said, “We have to conserve nature, protect the flora and fauna as our very existence hinges on it. Otherwise, our survival will be at stake.”
Suklabaidya said that the Raimona National Park is blessed with nature’s bounty and all efforts must be made to make the park one of the best parks in the country.
“We have given birth to the baby and now the BTR administration and the government will work in tandem along with NGOs and other stakeholders to nurture and groom the nascent park so that it grows to its full stature,” he quipped.
He said the 422 sq km national park is rich in flora and fauna and steps will also be taken for translocation of animals here, as has been done in Manas National Park, to enhance its beauty.
The minister also asked the BTR administration to submit a comprehensive plan within a week for infrastructure development of the park. He assured of all possible help and support to the BTR administration in developing the park.
Suklabaidya called for carbon assessment of the areas falling under BTR to determine the total carbon footprint. “Like our neighbouring country, Bhutan, which is pollution free and carbon negative, the BTR region which is contiguous to Bhutan, can be easily turned into a carbon negative environment.”
Earlier, Suklabaidya handed over the gazette notification declaring Raimona as National Park to BTC chief Pramod Boro.
Boro handed over letters of appreciation to Suklabaidya and chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for turning Raimona into a National Park.
Speaking on the occasion, Pramod Boro said it’s a momentous day for the entire BTR with the coming up of Raimona National Park. He said that the BTR administration would release Rs.7.9 crore received from Power Grid Corporation of India as CSR for infrastructure development of the park and also submit a detailed plan for the development of the park.
“There is no dearth of funds as international agencies are willing to fund conservation efforts against the backdrop of climate change induced by global warming,” he quipped.
Calling everyone to pitch in their efforts for conservation of nature, Boro said, “Nature has given us everything and does not take back anything. It’s our bounden duty to help conserve the pristine beauty of nature in all its manifestations.”
Boro said the region was marked by orgy of violence spanning decades leading to deforestation and it was time to change the mindset and work for development and prosperity. “We have to turn things around through a positive bent of mind to usher in progress and prosperity in BTR,” he added.
Thanking the chief minister and the environment minister for notifying Raimona as a National Park in a short span of time, Boro said, “If we have the will to do it, then nothing can stand in our way. The coming up of Raimona National Park within a short span of time is a classic example.”
State’s principal secretary (environment and forest) Avinash Joshi, PCCF and HoFF, AM Singh, PCCF (wildlife), Amit Sahai and PCCF (wetland) Ranjana Gupta also spoke on the occasion.
The function was attended by deputy CEM Gobinda Chandra Basumatary, MLAs, MCLAs, BTC principal secretary Dr Siddhartha Singh, DC, SP, SDO, Gossaigaon, among others.
Later, with hands on the steering wheel, Suklabaidya accompanied by Boro went deep inside the park to inspect the places where tourist amenities can be built in sync with the environment.