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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 July 2024

'Jaldapara' forest chugs on tracks

The NFR has decked a diesel loco (WDP4D 40096) with a livery highlighting the park as a prominent habitat of the herbivore that has been marked as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on its red data book which lists the vulnerability of different animals

Anirban Choudhury Alipurduar Published 24.06.24, 08:02 AM
The diesel loco bearing the name ‘Jaldapara National Park’.

The diesel loco bearing the name ‘Jaldapara National Park’. Picture by Anirban Choudhury

The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has taken an initiative to popularise the Jaldapara National Park — the largest habitat of one-horned rhinos in Bengal — across the country.

The NFR has decked a diesel loco (WDP4D 40096) with a livery highlighting the park as a prominent habitat of the herbivore that has been marked as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on its red data book which lists the vulnerability of different animals.

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“Jaldapara is a well-known destination of wildlife enthusiasts of the country. The initiatives taken for the conservation of one-horned rhinos at the national park are praiseworthy. That is why the locomotive has been named as Jaldapara National Park,” said Sabyasachi De, the chief public relation officer of the NFR.

He said the locomotive with its livery would make more people aware of the rhino habitat and the need for the animal’s conservation. “The loco will haul coaches to different areas of the country. As we have named the loco Jaldapara and it has graffiti, the engine will draw people’s attention and make them aware of the national park.”

The loco, which bears the name Jaldapara National Park at the front, has been painted in green and blue. While the green signifies forests and wildlife sanctuaries, the blue indicates rivers and other water bodies.

On either side of the locomotive, the livery features a silhouette of the one-horned rhino, which also bears the message: “Jaldapara, one of the den of one-horned rhinos.”

On Saturday, the loco hauled coaches of the Intercity Express which runs between Siliguri Junction and Balurghat.

The side of the diesel loco that features the silhouette of a one-horn rhino and mentions Jaldapara as the 'den' of the species.

The side of the diesel loco that features the silhouette of a one-horn rhino and mentions Jaldapara as the 'den' of the species. Picture by Anirban Choudhury

Parveen Kaswan, the divisional forest officer of Jaldapara wildlife division, appreciated the initiative. “We thank the railways for this unique initiative. It will carry a message to people about the conservation of rhinos,” he said.

The loco has been launched with the new livery at a time when wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers are upset over the fire that has gutted the 57-year-old bungalow at Holong in the Jaldapara National Park. The bungalow was a wooden structure and was located around 8km inside the park.

Manab Bakshi, the secretary of the Alipurduar District Tourism Association, said tour operators were apprehensive whether the blaze would have any impact on the flow of visitors to the eastern Dooars.

“At this time, this initiative of the railways will definitely encourage more people to visit Jaldapara and adjoining areas. The railway authorities have recognised the park for being a prime habitat of one-horned rhinos,” said Bakshi.

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