GUWAHATI, June 5 � In a novel move to pledge support to environmental protection, and Kaziranga National Park in particular, a large number of nature and wildlife lovers from across Assam today completed a Green Marathon along a stretch of the National Highway - 37 that flanks the southern boundary of Kaziranga National Park (KNP).
A total 179 persons took part in the event that was flagged off by State Minister for Environment and Forest Rockybul Hussain in front of the office of the Director of KNP at Bokakhat.
Participants ran 22 kilometres along the highway to Kohora, the main entrance to the park. People lined up along the both sides of the highway to cheer the runners as well as to witness the first-of-a-kind event. T-shirts, leaflets, posters and stickers were distributed to the participants and onlookers to spread the message of conservation.
Before the race, a public march led by Rockybul Hussain along with Bokakhat MLA Arun Phukon and PCCF V K Bishnoi, PCCF (Wildlife) Suresh Chand, KNP Director Sanjib Bora, DFO DD Gogoi�and Bokakhat SDO (Civil) Dwijen Singh was held from Bokakhat ASTC bus stop to the KNP Director�s office, according to an official press release.
A cash prize of Rs 10,000 was awarded to Shomezuddin Ahmed of Kamrup who emerged first in the Green Marathon clocking 1:13:37 hours. The first and second runners-up Bijoy Deka (Jorhat) and Robin Das (Barpeta) clocked 1:14:34 hours and 1:15:09 hours respectively. They were presented with cash awards of Rs 7,000 and Rs 5,000 respectively.
Aaranyak, a society for conservation in North East India, took the initiative in organizing the first Kaziranga Green Marathon in collaboration with Bokakhat District Master Athletic Association, Assam Forest Department, and Bokakhat civil administration. The event was partnered by Electronic Media Journalists� Association, Bhumi, Nabataranga, Bokakhat Press Club, Bokakhat Subdivisional Journalists� Association, WWF-India, Wild East, and Kaziranga Anchalik Sangbadik Santha.
At the end of the race at Kohora, the Forest Minister planted a sapling at the Kaziranga Centenary Convention Centre to mark the occasion. Addressing a brief meeting at the centre in presence of senior forest officials, and members of the organisations that facilitated the marathon, Hussain lauded the exemplary initiative to create awareness on conservation of nature. He said such efforts should continue in the future. All present in the meeting took a vow for conservation of nature and its resources.