GUWAHATI, Sept 3 � Kaziranga National Park (KNP) has lost 84 sq km of land to erosion since 1904, even though its wildlife population and density has gone up manifold in recent years and the Forest department has not been handed over all the additional lands marked for it during the six additions of the park.
Disclosing this to reporters here on Tuesday, Environment and Forest Minister Rakibul Hussain said that the land lost by KNP to erosion in the past 110 years is almost three times the total area of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
�The main problem with regard to KNP is while so much land has been lost due to erosion, the wildlife has risen substantially, and not all the land, earmarked in the successive additions, have been handed over to the Forest department. Globally, it is said that one rhino needs at least one square kilometre of land, but in KNP, currently one rhino has on average only 0.02 sq km of land for grazing,� Hussain said.
The minister said that the government is willing to give Rs 10 lakh as resettlement compensation to those families whose land has come under the additions. Hussain added that �there is no encroachment within the notified areas of KNP.�
He said that as per camera trappings, it has been found that the density of tigers is 32-34 per 100 sq km in KNP, which is among the top five highest in the world.
Hussain said three towers of electronic eye are ready in KNP and good results have been achieved after formation of the task force with regard to protection of wildlife.
With regard to making locals stakeholders in the KNP and other national parks in Assam, the State Government has formulated a new concept of economic development committees and it now wants to recruit youths from near the park areas to boost employment and increase participation of the locals in developing the parks.
�So far our recruitments were done on a state-wide basis. Now we are looking to start a new programme beginning with KNP where we want to recruit 100 local youths. Later the programmed can be expanded to other parks,� Hussain said, adding that the proposal in this regard will be taken up with Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar during his visit to Assam on September 4.
The State Government has also prepared a Powerpoint presentation which will be made before Javadekar, who will hold meetings with officials, experts and others during his visit.
Asked about the killing of a rhino at KNP on Tuesday, Hussain said, �The answer is hidden within your question. The Union Minister is to come and a rhino has been killed. There were no incidents of poaching for quite some time.�