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Sanctuary tag blows in the wind

- Dima Hasao’s Panimoor is a wildlife lover’s delight with its scenic beauty

Nagaon, Jan. 28: Panimoor in Dima Hasao district is replete with waterfalls, wildlife and natural beauty.

In order to preserve these rich resources, the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council is planning to get a wildlife sanctuary tag for Panimoor.

The council’s forest department recently made a detailed survey of Panimoor, 210km from Guwahati, and has prepared a roadmap for promoting the area to get the status of a wildlife sanctuary.

“Initially, the matter will be placed as a proposal before the executive committee of the council and Panimoor given the status of a district council reserve forest. The remaining formalities will be done in a phased manner to get the wildlife sanctuary status,” a department source said.

The Dima Hasao divisional forest officer (West) J.N. Hazarika said according to the survey, Panimoor covers an area of 18 square km and is adjacent to Kuka reserve forest in neighbouring Karbi Anglong district’s Hamren subdivision. Deer, gibbon, flying squirrel, slow loris and langur are some common fauna found in that belt.

“There is a corridor through which the wild animals often move from Panimoor to Kuka. Local villagers are also happy and ready to work with us in getting Panimoor a place on the wildlife sanctuary map of the state,” Hazarika said.

“The temple, recreation sites and the waterfalls would not be kept in the proposed forest area. Later, the council or the state government could take steps to promote tourism in Panimoor,” said a forest department source.

The council’s chief executive member Debojeet Thaosen said steps are being taken to preserve all natural resources within the council area in a phased manner. “Gone are the days of trouble and unrest in Dima Hasao. Now, we are on a mission to make historical areas like Panimoor get international recognition,” he said.

Dima Hasao has three reserve forests — Langting-Mupa, Krumgmeng and Borialle. If Panimoor gets the proposed status, it will become the only wildlife sanctuary in the hill district.

Forest minister Rakibul Hussain said eco-tourism would be possible within 10km of Panimoor, if it gets wildlife sanctuary tag. “Panimoor could be promoted as a sanctuary and the local council has the capacity to take such decisions,” Hussain said.

The site is known for two parallel waterfalls that merge into the river Kopili. It was a popular picnic spot till law and order problems hit a decade back. “It was one of the most popular picnic spots in Assam. Unfortunately, visitors hesitate to come here now owing to insurgency problems,” said Mahendra Langthasa, a local resident.