Context: The State government notified Dihing Patkai as a National Park, four days after creating the 422-sq. km Raimona National Park in western Assam’s Kokrajhar district.
- The “last remaining stretches” of the Assam Valley tropical wet evergreen forests have become Assam’s seventh National Park.
- The five older National Parks in the State are Kaziranga, Manas, Nameri, Orang and Dibru-Saikhowa.
- Kaziranga and Manas are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- They are also tiger reserves along with Nameri and Orang.
- The 234.26-sq. km Dihing Patkai straddling eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts.
- It is a major elephant habitat and 310 species of butterflies have been recorded there.
- The park has 47 species each of reptiles and mammals, including the tiger and clouded leopard.
- The forest village area diverted under the Forest Conservation Act has been excluded.
- Short stretches of the Dirak and Buri Dihing rivers have been included in the park.
Illegal coal mining in the area:
- Dihing Patkai, in focus a year ago for illegal coal mining in the vicinity.
- It encompasses:
- The erstwhile Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary,
- The Jeypore Reserve Forest and
- The western block of the Upper Dihing Reserve Forest.
- They are the areas that are set by the government to conserve the natural environment.
- A national park has more restrictions as compared to a wildlife sanctuary.
- Their boundaries are fixed and defined.
- The main objective of a national park is to protect the natural environment of the area and biodiversity conservation.
What is allowed and what is not allowed inside National Parks:
- Here, no human activity is allowed.
- Grazing of livestock and private tenurial rights are not permitted here.
- Species mentioned in the Schedules of the Wildlife Act are not allowed to be hunted or captured.
- No person shall destroy, remove, or exploit any wildlife from a National Park or destroy or damage the habitat of any wild animal or deprive any wild animal of its habitat within a national park.
- They cannot be downgraded to the status of a ‘sanctuary’.
Declaration of National Parks:
- National parks can be declared both by the Central Government and State governments.
- No alteration of the boundaries of a national park shall be made except on a resolution passed by the State Legislature.
Source: The Hindu