KAZIRANGA, July 8 - A massive protest meeting against the proposed eco-sensitive zone in Kaziranga was held on Sunday at Kohora.
The protest meet was organised jointly by Greater Kaziranga Human Resource Development and Environment Protection Committee in association with AASU�s Bokakhat unit, AJYCP, AATSA and Gorkha Students� Union along with other regional organisations.
Addressing the gathering, Jitu Sharma Rajkhowa, president of Greater Kaziranga Human Resource Development and Environment Protection Committee said that the government needs to consider the problems of the common people living in and around Kaziranga National Park while taking steps to declare Kaziranga as an eco-sensitive zone.
He said that if the proposed eco-sensitive zone is made within 10-km radius from Kaziranga National Park-cum-Tiger Reserve, then where will the common people living near the park go!
Around 500 people attended the meeting on Sunday.
Rajkhowa said that in many places like Japoripathar area and Kaziranga Dagaon, the villagers had been living since a very long time and their dwelling houses were hardly 50 to 100 metres away from the proposed zone. Therefore, it will be great injustice if the park authority compelled the people to shift to other places where there is no alternative sources of income or any livelihood for them.
Rajkhowa said that the Forest Department had already proposed for new additional corridors and hence the total number of wild animal corridors in Kaziranga had gone up to nine, which is five more than the already notified wildlife corridors.
Speaking to the gathering, local functionary Devo Pradip Bora said that people of Kaziranga had been sacrificing a lot for the protection of wildlife, but in return, they are not getting anything unlike the people living in other parts of Assam.
He said there was an indifferent attitude on the part of the Forest Department and they never worked for collective development of the local people of Kaziranga, who had been deprived of many benefits, including a railway track near Kaziranga.
Another functionary of the organisation, Animesh Saikia said that people of Kaziranga had been deprived of their legitimate rights in the name of conservation and protection of wildlife.
Later, the protesters submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister and Governor of Assam through the Magistrate of Bokakhat civil administration.
Rajkhowa said that they had demanded four-lane road construction and wherever necessary, flyovers should be constructed to enable the wild animals to pass towards the other side of the Kaziranga forest for safety. He said that four-lane in Kaziranga was essential for better and fast communication in and around Kaziranga National Park.