By Shambhu Boro
Though the Forest department has initiated every possible measure to save the forest areas of the State including the sanctuaries by implementing Forest Act and forming various committees, etc., yet the problems of poachers and encroachment by the suspected Bangladeshi nationals, etc., have been posing a serious threat to the very existence of Orang National Park.
It is noteworthy that the Orang National Park situated in the border area of Sonitpur and Darrang district, (BTAD) on the bank of mighty Brahmaputra some 12 km away from Orang town of BTC covering a large area of about 80 sqkm. The National Park which was later renamed as Rajiv Gandhi National Park is a habitat of the word famous one-horned rhino, pigmy hog, deer, leopard and birds of various species. But the alarming problem of insurgency and the poachers have been posing a serious threat to ONP and its wild animals since 1991.
It needs mention that as per the census report of the Forest department in 1991 there were altogether 97 rhinoceros in the sanctuary but due to the alleged movement of the poachers and the politically motivated encroachment by the illegal Bangladeshi nationals it has come down to 48. Of course, after coming under the jurisdiction of the BTC administration in 2001, the activities of the insurgent groups and the poachers have decreased and the number of the rhinoceroses in the sanctuary has gradually increased to 68 in 2006-07.
At the same time ranger of the national park expressing his grievances over the indifferent attitude of the government and the department concerned towards the number of problems faced by the forest guards engaged in the sanctuary and poor infrastructure within the sanctuary said that it is very tough to keep watch on such a big sanctuary covering a large area of about 80 sq km because of the poor facility availed by the forest workers. The forest official further disclosed that as there are a lot of streams, tributaries of mighty Brahmaputra in and around the sanctuary and dense jungle it is difficult to undertake quick patrolling in the sanctuary only in his personal vehicle.