There was a remarkable effect after conservation efforts by the villagers providing them a sense of self-respect by way of improvement in their economic condition. They set an example to adjacent villages like Abhyakuti, Bandarpara, Kaljani, Damodarpur, Banshbari and many others. These villages approached Nature’s Beckon to provide assistance. When the other villages around the Chakrashila Hills Reserve joined the effort, the need for an office and a training centre for the youth and women was felt. A campus, Tapoban, was developed for this purpose at no extra cost, as most of the work and resources necessary came spontaneously from the villagers. It is now a vital centre of learning and offers hospitality to naturalists and enlightened tourists from faraway places. Villagers are taught to plant trees, shrubs, medicinal plants, edible roots, fast-growing fuelwood trees, fruits and flowers, thatch and bamboo so that they could be spared the drudgery of collecting these from deep inside the forest. A small project of digging furrows to connect cultivable land and a perennial source of water has resulted in doubling of production of crops.
A forest area survey was taken up by Nature’s Beckon. A checklist of birds, mammals, reptiles, plants and other species was prepared. It was discovered that not only was Chakrashila home to the endangered golden langur but was also a habitat of many other endangered mammals like Chinese pangolin, crab-eating mongoose, clouded leopard, leopard, gaur, tiger; endangered reptiles like monitor lizard, water monitor, king cobra, Asian leaf turtle; and endangered birds like great hornbill, oriental pied hornbill, Eurasian eagle owl, osprey, black baza, etc. On the basis of this information, the NGO along with the people decided to approach the forest department to declare the area a wildlife sanctuary. It was thought that this would provide more scope for the social development of the villages living on the periphery through eco-development projects. When the state government remained silent on this issue, public pressure was created through repeated appeals and media coverage. During this period, from 1988 to 1994 plantations were taken up in the denuded areas on the periphery of Chakrashila in the villages of Jornagra, Abhyakuti, Kaljani, Damadarpur, Bandarpara and Chakrashila. The different species that were planted were sal, poma, Sida spp., phulgamari, oxi, kum, bhelu, koroi, sonaru, jam and simul. Most of them were planted for the golden langur and other wild animals. Artificial salt licks2 were also created for the animals inside the forest. The villagers volunteered to clear weeds like lajukilata, jarmony bon, etc., which inhibit growth in the forest. Through all these activities the villagers continued to zealously guard the forests. Signboards of various kinds were also installed.
On 14 July 1994, the Governor of Assam notified the area a Wildlife Sanctuary. After the notification, Chakrashila started receiving funds for the socio-economic development of the fringe villages. However, the forest department did not discuss the planning or implementation of the scheme and utilization of funds therein with the villagers or local NGOs. The people feel that the funds have been misused. Chakrashila is still being protected by the village communities. Nature’s Beckon has taken the initiative of developing infrastructure inside the fringe villages of Chakrashila. With the cooperation of B.R. Samal, Deputy Commissioner of Dhubri District, village roads, wells for drinking water, sanitary latrines for every household and brick houses with corrugated iron sheet roofing for every family were constructed. The brick houses were constructed for 160 families, making Jornagra perhaps the only tribal village in Assam with all these facilities for all the households.