KAZIRANGA, Aug 10 - With the introduction of various schemes followed by timely release of funds by the State Forest Department for the fringe villages of Kaziranga National Park under Eco Development Committee (EDC), the local stakeholders have been able to set up their farming businesses resulting in better socio-economic condition in Kaziranga.
According to sources at the office of Eastern Assam Wildlife Division (Kaziranga), around 340 villages under various EDCs were registered right from Agaratoli range to Burapahar (Ghorakhati) range of Kaziranga National Park.
Funds for 16 EDCs under various schemes were released during 2015- 2016. Villagers of fringe areas of Kaziranga have already set up various businesses under self-help groups with the help of money released by the Forest Department meant for different EDCs.
According to sources, unemployed men and women have started doing mushroom production, tailoring, weaving, livestock farming like piggery, dairy businesses etc., and earning good incomes.
Each of the EDCs was registered with the authority of Kaziranga National Park and submitted the proposal for carrying out different activities for the welfare of the people of the fringe areas of Kaziranga National Park.
The Forest Department found that EDCs of Rangaloo in Burapahar range, Chilimkhuwa in Burapahar range and Aamguri Bagan have been doing good jobs to improve living conditions of the villagers. The other EDCs like Number-1 Kohora EDC, Difflo Pathar EDC and Japori Pathar EDC have decided to construct community hall and improve the infrastructure of their village schools and electricity facilities.
Similarly, Tamuli Pathar and Agaratoli and Bahikhuwa EDCs have started piggery, tailoring by purchasing sewing machines for the women with the help of EDC funds and even constructed community halls in their areas.
It is worth mentioning that the funds meant for EDCs were released by a French agency to Assam Project on Forest and Biodiversity Conservation Society owned by Forest Department of Kaziranga, which in turn released the necessary funds. Time-to-time monitoring of the works are being done by the officials of Kaziranga National Park to ensure that funds are properly utilised by the EDCs.
With the improvement of lifestyle of the people of Kaziranga due to the help of EDCs, there has been an improvement of relationship between Forest Department and local communities of the area. Around three to five years back, there was a big communication gap between the people of Kaziranga and Forest Department, especially after the notification of Project Tiger in Kaziranga.
Ananda Gogoi, president of Sepenakubuwa Eco Development Committee in Kaziranga, said, �Our EDC has extended all kinds of help to the needy unemployed people, especially women, in setting up their tailoring business by purchasing sewing machines from the EDC fund. Simultaneously, we helped the local youths to start piggery and dairy farming and now they are earning good incomes.� Under the EDC, a fund of Rs 5 lakh was released for the construction of a Naam Ghar at Sepenakubuwa and more than 70 per cent work was completed, he added.