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Centre says Gorumara best among the wild

Siliguri, April 9: The Union ministry of environment and forests has declared Gorumara National Park in Jalpaiguri the best among the 235 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the country for 2009.

Representatives of a three-member committee constituted by the ministry made the announcement in Gorumara today.

“On the basis of eight different parameters, each national park and wildlife sanctuary was marked by committees formed by the ministry for different zones,” said D.S. Srivastava, a committee member. “Gorumara has scored 84 out of 100 and has been selected as the best national park for the year 2009.” Himalayan National Park in Garhwal was conferred the same status in 2008.

Following the Sariska fiasco — absence of big cats in Sariska Tiger Reserve of Rajasthan — the ministry has constituted committees of experts in different zones for “management effectiveness evaluation” of the national parks. Each committee was supposed to evaluate the status of the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries located in one or more states.

According to committee members, the parameters include condition of the forest, wildlife, bush and grassland, performance of the eco-development committees associated with the park, development of eco-tourism, extent of cattle grazing, socio-economic development of people living in the fringe villages and their dependency on forest and effective utilisation of funds received from the ministry and other sources.

Since Gorumara has been selected as No. 1 in all categories, the national park will now be considered a model.

“Foresters in different states will be suggested to visit Gorumara and increase their knowledge on wildlife conservation and maintenance of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Teams from the states are expected to visit the park at regular intervals,” a committee member said. The first team to visit will be from Orissa that will reach Gorumara in May, sources said.

Tapas Das, the divisional forest officer, wildlife-II, has expressed satisfaction over Gorumara’s “achievement”. “It is nice to hear that Gorumara has achieved this status and we are thankful to every employee and worker of our department for whom it was possible,” he said.

“However, it has also thrust a great responsibility on us. With the park being selected as the best we have to work harder and strive to retain the position,” the DFO added.

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