Itanagar, Aug 27: The Arunachal Pradesh government has asked the Assam forest department to check whether the newly notified Dehing-Patkai national park falls in the disputed border area between the two northeastern states, Home Minister Bamang Felix informed the assembly on Friday.
Responding to a question raised by senior Congress member Wangling Lowangdong, Felix, who also holds the border affairs portfolio, said the administration is aware of the Assam government's notification about the sanctuary. The state government has already written a letter to the chief wildlife warden of Assam to ascertain whether the notified park falls in the disputed interstate border area, the minister said.
The Tirap district administration in Arunachal was also directed to cross-check the same, he said. Dehing-Patkai rainforest, which has unique floral and faunal diversity, was notified as a national park by the Assam government on June 9. The forest was first recognized by the Assam government in 2004, when 111.19 sq km of the area was designated as Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary.
Assam Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya had said the conservation activities would be strengthened as another 123.07 sq km has been added to the original sanctuary area. Felix said the state government had on July 15 constituted a High Power Ministerial Committee (HPMC) to work out a solution to the boundary problem. During a meeting of the panel held on Thursday, the government asked the deputy commissioners of 12 districts that share the interstate border with Assam to study the current boundary status in consultation with various stakeholders, he informed the House.
The DCs were directed to submit the ground assessment reports to the HPMC within two months, the minister said. Felix is the chairman of the panel.
Twelve districts of Arunachal Pradesh that share boundaries with Assam include West Kameng, Pakke Kessang, Papum Pare, Kamle, Lower Siang, Lower Dibang Valley, East Siang, Lohit, Namsai, Changlang, Longding and Tirap. Responding to a supplementary question from another Congress member Ninong Ering, Felix said the government will appeal to the Supreme Court to resolve the issue as a case of the interstate boundary dispute is pending before it.
Assam should maintain the status quo in the boundary areas till a verdict comes from the apex court, he added.