NATIONAL

Rajasthan to go ahead with national park

JAIPUR, JULY 24. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Government in Rajasthan is going ahead with the setting up of the proposed Rajiv Gandhi National Park in the Hadauti region, as desired by the erstwhile Congress-led Government, but without the name. The National Park, which would be the third of its kind in the State after the well-known Keoladeo near Bharatpur and the Ranthambhor in Sawai Madhopur, will be known after Darrah, one of the three sanctuaries it will consist of.

The announcement on the national park came from the Minister for Forests and Mining, Laxminarain Dave, during his reply to the debate on the demands of his Ministry in the State Assembly earlier this week. Last week, in an interaction with mediapersons, Mr.Dave had said that the issue of setting up the national park was to be decided by the State Cabinet.

The area under the proposed national park has rich flora and fauna, including an abundance of the Dhok trees and wild animals like leopard, sloth bear, wild boar, chinkara and cheetal, sambhar besides the "gharial". In fact, the Chambal sanctuary is an exclusive preserve of the gharials which have grown and multiplied in this stretch of the river over the years. The proposed 200 sq km under the new park falls in the districts of Kota, Bundi and Chittorgarh.

The Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, had an overview of the park last year when she flew over the Darrah, the Chambal and the Jaswant Sagar sanctuaries. The park is the second entity in Rajasthan to undergo a name change after the BJP Government coming to power here. The first was the education complex — Rajiv Gandhi Sankul — in Jaipur, now rechristened Dr. Radhakrishnan Sankul, after the late President.

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