Gangtok, May 6
Khangchendzonga Conservation Committee (KCC) provided a much needed life-saving oxygen cylinder and LPG heater for high altitude workers of the Yuksam -Dzongri trekking trail under Khangchendzonga National Park(KNP). It was distributed during the workshop on awareness on one health approach for management of Zoonotic doseases held on 28th April. They handed over the cylinders to forest official of KNP.
“Intention behind providing oxygen cylinder and LPG heater is in the past many incidents had been reported wherein due to lack of emergency oxygen as first aid service lost many lives and emergency helicopter service is also not possible as the entire KNP region is in KNP which is border so it needs special permission so keeping all these issues we have provided the oxygen cylinder which can be used during an emergency. Oxygen can help to overcome high altitude sickness. Since the entire belt saw tourists Shihadeh’s altitudes ranging from 12000 feet to 14000 feet above sea can be used when there is a lack of breath, the facility can be utilised by all tourists, locals, etc said Tshering Uden Bhutia, President, Khangchendzonga Conservation Committee (KCC).
She further shared that during winter temperature dips heavily and in the year 1998, the organization was able to ban the use of Firewood by trekkers along the Yuksam Dzongri trekking trail. However, this ban was not feasible for the guardians of the trail, the caretakers of the trekker’s hut along Yuksam-Dzongri, as they had no other source of fuel for warmth and food throughout the year. With every passing year and an increasing number of visitors, the pressure on the land has increased as well, and a large number of Rhododendron trees are cut down to provide the services at the Trekkers hut.
She also said “July 2016 marked as an important day for Khangchendzonga National Park it was declared as a world-recognized Heritage site under Mixed Category by UNESCO a first one for the country. However, it was long before that in the year 1977 the park was established with the same name as the guardian deity Mt. Khangchendzonga or Mt. Kanchenjunga, the national park is spread across1784 sq. Km, with a range from 1,829 m (6,001 ft.) to over 8,550 m. The national park has a diverse landscape and even diverse flora and fauna. Which has been a subject of interest since the beginning of many trekkers and scholars. Apart from the diversity in landscape, flora and afaunauna, the national park is known for its world-famous Yuksam-Dzongri trek. The trekking trail which is above 3000 meters is filled with various types of Rhododendrons, a dominant species in that elevation. These Rhododendrons are the keystone species to maintain the ecosystem, for the nesting of birds, and protection of medicinal plants it has many more important roles. Out of the many roles currently, it has also been serving as fuelwood at the trekker’s hut along the trail, causing a disturbance in the ecosystem of the park. Every year the number of trekkers visiting the trail increases, which has caused the deforestation of the Rhododendrons to provide warmth and food to visitors along the trail. In the year 1996, an organization was formed in Yuksam by a group of like-minded individuals with Conservation as their common goal. The primary focus of the organization has been protecting and conserving the bounty the village has been blessed with i.e. Khangchendzonga National Park. A Zero Waste mechanism has been developed by KCC and is in practice inside the national park making it the only ZERO WASTE TREKKING TRAIL in Sikkim. The tourism stakeholders of Khangchendzonga National Park have been trained by the organization in adopting the Zero Waste practice. while trekking. The training includes segregation of waste, product making from the waste generated from inside KNP etc. The mechanism developed by the organization has been in place for many years, and implementation has helped in maintaining the data of waste collected from inside the park. In the year 2005 KCC started functioning as a Visitors Information Centre (VIC) informing the trekkers about national parks, rules and regulations that are to be followed inside the park, the religious beliefs and local bylaws that one has to follow inside the park. Apart from the government set rules and local laws
of zero waste trekking trail. Assessing the immense man-made pressure on the ecosystem of the park Khangchendzonga Conservation Committee has again taken it upon themselves to reduce the pressure on nature and help in the conservation of the diverse eco-system within the park by providing alternative fuel solutions.
KCC Yuksam has provided a total of 7 sets of LPG set connections for Cooking purposes and 7 sets of LPG Heater to the caretakers of the huts and 4 oxygen cylinders at various places like Bakhim, Tshoka, Dzongri, Thangsing and HMI.