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Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary to be given National Park status amid raging controversy

The Assam Government has decided to upgrade the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, to a National Park

Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary to be given National Park status amid raging controversy

Sentinel Digital Desk

Guwahati: Amid raging controversy over alleged clearance for coal mining in the vicinity of the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, the Assam Government has resolved to grant 'National' Park' status to the Upper Assam sanctuary.

The decision was taken today at a meeting chaired by the Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who held a series of discussions and deliberations with the senior officials of the state department. In the meeting, Sonowal directed the officials to ensure that the sanctuary is soon upgraded into a National Park.

"Our Govt has decided to upgrade the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, which is home to a vast variety of flora and fauna, to a National Park. In a meeting with senior officials in Guwahati today, I have directed them to take necessary steps in this regard," Sonowal tweeted.

There was a widespread controversy over the National Board of Wildlife's (NBWL) approval for coal mining in an elephant reserve near the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, following which Sonowal had sent Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaiya to take stock of the situation. The Government claimed that the Centre is yet to give its final nod to coal mining in the area. Meanwhile, the Gauhati High Court has also admitted a PIL challenging the National Board of Wildlife's (NBWL) approval for coal mining in the protected area.

The Dehing-Patkai was declared a sanctuary on 13 June 2004. It is located in the Dehing Patkai landscape which is a dipterocarp-dominated lowland rainforest. The Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary and a part of Dehing Patkai Rainforest, due to their importance for elephant habitat, were declared as Dehing-Patkai Elephant Reserve under Project Elephant launched in 1992 by the Government of India Ministry of Environment and Forests to provide financial and technical support to wildlife management efforts by states for their free-ranging populations of wild Asian Elephants.

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