Kaziranga, June 22 (PTI): Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday said the sharp reduction of rhino poaching cases in Kaziranga National Park (KNP) was due to the relentless efforts of the people of Golaghat, Nagaon, Karbi Anglong and Sonitpur districts surrounding the World Heritage site.
Without their unconditional involvement to safeguard the wildlife, bringing down rhino poaching would not have been possible, Sonowal said while giving financial help to the Eco-Development Committees at Burhapahar range of Kaziranga National Park.
The chief minister said under the project people living in the fringe areas of KNP will be empowered to take up organic farming projects, watershed management projects and fishery development schemes with a project outlay of Rs 24.56 crore.
He provided financial help to 10 eco-development committees under the Ecosystem Management Project of Kaziranga National Park and its fringe areas.
Sonowal said people will have to lend their hand for the success of Kaziranga eco-system management project.
Sonowal said bio-diversity of the state cannot be preserved without safeguarding the sanctity of the park.
Terming KNP as a symbol of pride and identity of the people of Assam, Sonowal said the park has strengthened the state''s reputation of being an epicentre of eco-tourism.
Without protecting the rich flora and fauna of Kaziranga National Park, Sonowal said the state will not be able to attract tourists both native and foreigners to Assam.
The chief minister said that Assam with its main rivers Brahmaputra and Barak along with their 137 tributaries, nearly 2,500 small and big chars (riverine flood plain sediments) and innumerable tree species has presented a treasure-trove. The people of the state will have to extend their cooperation to sustain the rich bio-diversity, he said.
The chief minister said that though COVID-19 pandemic has created an impediment to the growth of the state, it has also highlighted the areas where Assam can become self- sufficient.
With the right kind of government intervention, Sonowal said people of Assam will have to work in tandem with the government agencies to make the state a self-reliant one.
He emphasised on the need to fulfil the local demands and then go forward to capture the neighbouring markets of North Eastern States as well as South-East Asian nations.