Over 64,000 tourists visit Kaziranga since Oct 21

GUWAHATI: Over 64,000 tourists have visited Kaziranga National Park (KNP) since it was reopened to tourists on October 21.

Official sources on Thursday said that as many as 64,100 tourists visited the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since October 21, 2020 while the revenue collected during the 70-day period was recorded at Rs 127.32 lakh.

Famed for one-horned rhinoceros, the park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was closed for seven months due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had, during the formal reopening, expressed hope that the move to allow tourists to visit the park would revive the state’s tourism sector, which had taken a backseat during the pandemic-triggered lockdown.

As it is, Kaziranga remains shut for around five months every year during the monsoon season when floods submerge large parts of the park.

While lockdown did affect the tourism sector, the park authorities could successfully curb rhino poaching with only two rhinos poached in the year 2020.

KNP sources said that 66 cases, including 17 rhino-related cases have been booked in the year while 95 persons have been arrested in 38 rhino-related cases.

In September 2020, the Assam government approved the seventh, eighth and ninth additions to the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve. In November, according to a directive of Gauhati High Court, the civil administration of Bokakhat Sub-division under Golaghat district handed over the third and fifth additions to the Eastern Assam Wildlife Division of Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve.

The area of the third addition is 69.76 hectares (ha) and that of the fifth addition is 115.36 ha.

New tourist destinations, some offering river tourism, such as Bhomoraguri, Panpur, Chirang, Banderdubi and Biswanath ghat were also developed during the year.

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