Centre’s directive on Manas
- Unesco-IUCN team to visit park next week
Guwahati, Jan. 21: The Centre has for the first time asked Assam to put its best foot forward when the Unesco-IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) mission comes visiting so that Manas National Park can regain its coveted status of World Heritage Site.
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh has asked Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi to make use of the opportunity and present the improvement effected in the management of Manas National Park before the visiting mission in a forceful manner.
“I am writing this letter to personally impress upon you the importance that the Centre accords to the visit of the Unesco mission, as the success of this mission would restore the lost international glory to Manas National Park. May I request you to impress upon the state forest department to present the positive impact, specifically on wildlife population, (to the Unesco mission) in a forceful manner with a view to eliciting a favourable recommendation from them,” Ramesh said in a letter to Gogoi on January 13.
Ramesh said the Indian delegation in the 34th session of World Heritage Committee held in Brazil had strongly argued for removing the “in danger” tag from Manas and including it in the list of World Heritage Site.
A Unesco-IUCN mission, comprising Ram Boojh of Unesco-India, Sue Mainka from IUCN and Remco van Merm of world heritage programme, will visit Manas from January 25-30 for an on-the-spot assessment of the corrective measures taken so far along with their positive impact, particularly the trends in wildlife population.
Boojh told The Telegraph that the team was coming with a “positive frame” of mind and would like to meet a cross-section of society to get an overview on the state of conservation in the park.
The field director of the national park, A. Swargiary, said they were taking the visit seriously and had invited experts from the WWF and officials from Bhutan, in cooperation with which it had initiated transboundary work.
“Getting back the coveted status is still sometime away but this is definitely the start of the journey,” a source said.
Swargiary said a proper and well-documented management plan had been prepared. It prescribes a clear vision for future management of the national park and addresses issues like wildlife monitoring, management of invasive species, land use management, fire utilisation and tourism strategy.
He said recent direct sightings and camera-trap method are indication of the presence of tiger population in the park.