NEW DELHI, Sept 20 - The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) today announced three major missions for the Northeast that also includes a study of the biodiversity of the Brahmaputra river. The new missions are Phyto-Pharma Plants Mission, the Brahmaputra Biodiversity Biology Boat (B4) and Frugal Microscopy.
The launch of the three projects was announced by Minister of Science and Technology and Environment Dr Harsh Vardhan here this afternoon at a press conference. He said the Government of India has taken many steps to bring about a paradigm shift in the biotechnology sector in the country�s northeastern region (NER).
The DBT has established a dedicated �North Eastern Region Biotechnology Programme Management Cell (NER-BPMC)�, with an annual investment of Rs 180 crore, to evolve, implement and foster biotechnology research in the northeastern states.
Describing the Brahmaputra as one of the most majestic rivers in the world, the minister said that B4 will establish a large barge on the river with a well-equipped laboratory for analysis of all components of the entire eco-system. The B4 will be linked to all local
research institutions along the river as well as national and international laboratories.
The B4 boat-lab will have capabilities to analyse soil, water, environment, plant and animal life, human health and agriculture. It will also have an equal component that involves local citizens in the experimental process of science in data generation and management. It is also proposed to have labs that will run along the tributaries of the Brahmaputra to feed data to the main B4 boat-lab.
The mission�s work-plan is being developed and IIT Guwahati is the nodal agency, Dr Vardhan said, adding, �We expect to commence development of B4 lab by December and scale up rapidly.�
Asked whether the boat lab would also undertake a study on the impact of dams on the eco-system of the Brahmaputra river, the minister said they would undertake such a study but would not intervene although they would be sharing the data.