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Bhutan bids for border friendship park

Guwahati: Bhutan has proposed a friendship park along the Indo-Bhutan border.

Bhutan suggested this at the Transboundary Manas Conservation Area (TraMCA) meeting in Thimphu, Bhutan, on December 21-22. Forest officials of Manas National Park and Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan, representatives of WWF from both countries and officials from the forest department of Bhutan participated in the meeting.

A source said the idea is to have a common conservation unit along this interantional border.

Bhutan has proposed the park on the occasion of 50 years of Indo-Bhutan friendship. India and Bhutan have agreed to celebrate this year as the golden jubilee of the establishment of formal diplomatic ties between the two neighbours. Buthan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck had met President and Prime Minister of India in November last year in New Delhi where he had accepted the President's invitation for a state visit to India this year for the anniversary.

Manas National Park director Hiranya Sarma said the concept was good and forward-looking for conservation. "Bhutan will have to move India for a friendship park," he said.

Tshering Tempa of Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research, who gave a presentation on the friendship park, said the park will be spread over 2,000 square km, of which 950 sq. km is in Kokrajhar district and 1,050 sq. km in Sarpang and Tsirang districts of Bhutan. He said the park will restore the landscape as the "land of tigers and elephants". "It will act as a buffer against negative impacts of climate change and provide peace and tranquillity along the border," he said.

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