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Row over five-star hotel in Kaziranga: Conservation expert seeks clarification from Assam tourism dept

05:55 PM Jun 22, 2024 IST | NE NOW NEWS
UpdateAt: 06:18 PM Jun 22, 2024 IST
An animal corridor in Kaziranga National Park. (File image)

Guwahati: Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) is at the center of a controversy surrounding the proposed construction of three five-star hotels within its boundaries.

The news has drawn the attention of Dr. Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, an expert member of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and International Cultural Tourism Committee and International Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage, who has expressed apprehension about the project's impact on the park's ecology.

In a letter addressed to the Director of Tourism, Assam, Dr Borkakoti, expressed apprehension that the proposed hotels, particularly a Hyatt property planned for Hathikuli Inglay Pothar, a traditional elephant habitat, could disrupt crucial elephant corridors.

The letter points out that two of the proposed hotels are reportedly being developed by the Taj Group, while the third, planned for the Hathikuli Inglay Pothar area, is said to be undertaken by the Chicago-based Hyatt Hotel Corporation.


This specific location is a cause for significant worry, as it is considered a traditional elephant habitat and a crucial "playground for elephants" by the local communities residing within the WHS.

Dr. Borkakoti emphasizes the importance of environmental clearances and seeks assurances that the project won't compromise the park's ecological balance.

While acknowledging the importance of development, the letter underlines the necessity of striking a balance with environmental protection.

"We welcome development but it should not be at the cost of nature," the letter read.  

The letter also includes references to relevant news articles, including one from The Wire and one from Northeast Now.

These references potentially provide further details about the controversy and local perspectives.

The Assam Tourism Department has yet to respond publicly to Dr. Borkakoti’s letter. The development plans for the five-star hotels remain under scrutiny, with conservationists urging a thorough assessment of potential environmental impacts before any construction commences.