Guwahati: The Assam Cabinet has decided to rename Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park as Orang National Park, taking cognizance of the requests made by Adivasi and tea tribe communities of the state.
Addressing the reporters here on Wednesday evening, information and public relations minister Pijush Hazarika said that representatives of the Adivasi and tea tribes community had earlier met chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma with a request to rename the park as Orang National Park.
“During a recent interaction between Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and prominent members of the Adivasi and tea-tribe community, they had demanded removal of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s name from the Orang National Park,” said parliamentary affairs minister Pijush Hazarika.
“Since the name Orang is associated with the sentiments of the Adivasi and tea-tribe community, the cabinet has decided to rename the Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park as Orang National Park,” he added.
Located on the North Bank of Brahmaputra, Orang National Park spread over 78.80 sq km is the oldest forest reserve in the state. It was named a wildlife sanctuary in 1985 and declared a national park in 1999.
In August 2005, the Congress government headed by Tarun Gogoi had decided to rename Orang National Park after the late Prime Minister despite resistance from local groups.
The national park is named after the Oraon people, who are inhabitants of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh. Thousands of them were part of the many tribes from those states who were brought by the British to work in the tea-gardens of Assam.
Many people from the Oraon tribe had settled near the area where the park is now located and the area took its name from them. According to the 2011 census, there are 73,437 Oraon people in Assam.