MIRZA, Sept 8 - The Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police of South Kamrup district visited the Assam-Meghalaya border areas of the district recently in a bid to take stock of the condition of the people living in the area and also to review the region�s tourism potential, including picturesque Ukium lake.
South Kamrup district Superintendent of Police (SP) Prasanta Saikia said that the Ukium area of Assam-Meghalaya border is a sensitive place and ensuring security of the people living in the region is a priority task for the administration. The State Government has been taking several initiatives for ensuring security of the people living in inter-State border region, he added.
�A border outpost is being set up at Ukium village which will start functioning within three months. The outpost will help give security to the villagers living in the border areas,� the SP said.
It may be mentioned here that the outpost was the prime demand of the local people of Ukium and the initiative taken by the State Government, especially by the police department, in establishment of the police outpost has been hailed by the local residents.
South Kamrup Deputy Commissioner Rajiv Prakash Baruah and SP Prasanta Saikia have also directed the concerned Electricity and PWD officials to provide necessary facilities to the outpost so that it could be functional soon.
Asked whether there is any movement of Garo militant group in Ukium areas, the SP said that as of now there was no report of movements of Garo militants. However, the SP said that the police administration will hold public meetings covering the entire area and it will reach out to the local residents so that they don�t feel any kind of insecurity.
When reminded that the poor infrastructure facility at the Ukium and other border villages in the Assam-Meghalaya border was one of the main bottlenecks for development, the DC said that there would be major initiatives to renovate the hilly roads under the NREGA Scheme.
�The PWD would be involved to construct more black-topped roads and there will be major initiatives to develop the healthcare sector in the villages,� said the DC.
The DC and SP have also visited the forest areas near the Ukium lake and the hanging bridge over the river at Ukium.
On boosting tourism in the Ukium areas, the DC said that there was tremendous scope for economic development of the people living in the border area by harnessing the untapped tourism potential, including the famous Ukium lake and the district administration would take initiatives to tap these resources without destroying the rich flora and fauna of the region.
Sources said that three rivers � Ghoga, Drone and Siri � have met at the place called Ukium and the confluence point of the rivers is an extremely beautiful sight, which is also called Ukium lake.
The three rivers then merge into one river called Kulsi river, the home of the endangered Gangetic dolphin, the State aquatic animal listed in the Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (of India).
Ukium lake is surrounded by a range of hills from all sides which makes it more beautiful and exotic from the tourist point of view. Sources said that the forests surrounding Ukium lake were thriving with some of the important trees, shrub and herbs, including teak, sal, gamari, titachaf, ahui, etc.
The reserve forests in Ukium area, comprising low undulating hills, covered with deciduous forests and patches of evergreen forests close to the foothills of Meghalaya plateau, is habitat of some of the critically-endangered species, including hoolock gibbon, golden langur, rhesus macaque, leopard, leopard cat, clouded leopard, barking deer, sambar, wild pig, Chinese pangolin, Asiatic elephant, giant squirrel, slow loris, hog-badger, Himalayan black bear, yellow throated morten, Chinese porcupine, rufous-tailed hare, jungle cat, large Indian civet , etc. There are reports of Royal Bengal tigers roaming around the Ukium lake and its adjoining forests.
Ukium lake and its forests are also reported to be habitat of a large number of reptiles, including king cobra, branded crait, rock python, viper, common monitor, water monitor, keeled box turtle, brown hill tortoise, Asian leaf turtle etc.
Several species of endangered and rare fish species, including silgharia, garua, chitala, cheni puthi etc., have also been reported in Ukium lake and its nearby rivers and streams.
Sources said that over 100 species of birds have been reported in the Ukium lake and its adjoining forests which would give ample opportunities to the ornithologists to do research. There is ample opportunity to make Ukium and its surrounding villages as ethnic or tribal tourism hotspots. The local residents have lauded the move of the district administration for boosting tourism covering the Ukium and its adjoining areas.