The Assam Cabinet has decided to rename Rajiv Gandhi National Park, a Tiger reserve, as Orang National Park. Taking cognisance of the Adivasi and tea tribe community’s demands, the cabinet has decided to rename Rajiv Gandhi National Park as Orang National Park, government spokesperson and Water Resources Minister Pijush Hazarika said at a media briefing after the meeting.
Covering an area of 79.28 sq km, it was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1985, and a national park in 1999.
Located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra in Darrang and Sonitpur districts, the national park is known for wild animals like the royal Bengal tiger, Indian rhinoceros, pygmy hog and wild elephants.
Among other decisions, the cabinet approved sanction of Rs 660 crore as Covid-19 related expenditure to the Deputy Commissioners of different districts.
The council of ministers decided to give, under the ‘Prarthana’ Scheme, an amount of Rs 1 lakh as a one-time grant to the next of kin of over 6,500 people who had died of Covid-19, Hazarika said.
The guardian ministers of each district will hand over the amount to the beneficiaries on the birth anniversary of MK Gandhi, 2 October.
The Assam Cabinet decided to appoint International boxer Jamuna Boro and International archer Champion Sanjay Boro as Excise Inspectors.
They will be given appointment letters on 3 September, on the birthday of Assam’s first Arjun Awardee Bhogeswar Baruah.
The Orang Wildlife Sanctuary was originally named after Rajiv Gandhi in 1992 but due to massive protests from the public at that time, the decision was put on hold. However, after it was declared as a national park in 1999, the then Tarun Gogoi led Congress government had again renamed it Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park in 2001. Despite protests from the public and environmentalists, this decision remained in force.
While the official name of the park had Rajiv Gandhi in it, people in the state never referred to it by that name, it is always known as Orang National Park. Moreover, when the park was also declared as a tiger reserve in 2016, it was named as Orang Tiger Reserve only.