By Debananda Medak
GUWAHATI: The beloved Kaziranga is tearing today not only because of the flood that has been causing disaster to the wild animals of the Kaziranga national park; but also for the orchids that bloomed and faded away silently this year.
The Kaziranga is also tearing for those one thousand families, who are starving ever since the shutting down of the Kaziranga Orchid Park cum Biodiversity Conservation Centre, as an implication of the socio-political and economic instability caused by the movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Member secretary of the Kaziranga Orchid Park cum Biodiversity Conservation Centre, Ratan Daw said, “More than hundreds of varieties of orchids bloomed at the park, located near Kaziranga National Park, faded away silently this year. No foreign, domestic and local visitors could experience the ecstasy of the blooming orchids this year due to the CAA movement and the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Among thousands of entrepreneurial institutions located in the state, the Kaziranga Orchid Park cum Biodiversity Conservation Centre was one of the worst recipients of the brunt of CAA movement and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Daw said, “Ever since the socio-political unrest erupted in the state due to the CAA movement, the earnings of the park visibly fallen down to zero. More than one thousand families have been directly or indirectly forced to starve. Even after the CAA movement, the Covid-19 pandemic has come heavily and forced us to remain closed indefinitely.”
According to Daw, 100 employees were directly engaged in the management of the entire establishments.
The Centre comprises a museum that contains ancient artefacts of Assam, a living orchid garden, nursery, a hotel that provides ethnic dishes, gardens of medicinal plant, bamboo, fruits and vegetables, children amusement park, a permanent stage for performing ethnic folk music and arts besides boating facilities.
He also said, “Presently, 15 to 20 members of the park committee have been offering voluntary services for cleaning and maintaining the park while three permanent staffs are looking after the premises round the clock. As there is no surety of resumption, our hopes and waiting are confined in a case of uncertainty.”
He estimated that the park has lost at least Rs 50 to 60 lakh so far.
“Men who used to run the parking plots, small vendors, local artistes who performed folk arts on the stage three times in a day, fruit and vegetable suppliers, all are suffering due to the economic devastation. Altogether, these sufferers are not less than a 1000 families,” Daw said.
“We also submitted a memorandum for the necessary support to state’s chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and also informed about the situation to Assam Tourism Development Corporation Chairman Jayanta Malla Baruah and local MLA Atul Bora. However, nothing came in favour of the centre,” Daw added.
The Kaziranga Orchid Park cum Biodiversity Conservation Centre was set up by the state’s peasant organisation, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti.