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Centre’s nod to DPR on Red River rejuvenation through forestry inputs

By The Assam Tribune

Staff Correspondent

JORHAT, March 14: A detailed project report (DPR) on rejuvenation and management of the Brahmaputra river system through forestry interventions prepared by Rain Forest Research Institute (RFRI) here in active collaboration with several forest departments of the region and other stakeholders has been approved by the Union Ministry of Forests, Environment and Climate Change (MoEF and CC).

It may be mentioned here that RFRI is the only institute of its kind in the north-eastern region under the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE).

Rajib Kumar Kalita, Scientist F and Head of Extension Division and also Training Coordinator, RFRI disclosed before The Assam Tribune that only a few days ago the institute received a letter from the MoEF and CC intimating that the DPR on rejuvenation and management of the Brahmaputra river system through forestry interventions prepared by RFRI with support from forest departments of NE states and West Bengal, besides other stakeholders, had been approved by the Government and will be implemented through a scheme.

Divulging about the project, Kalita said that preparation of the DPR was part of a pan-Indian initiative of the National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board under the MoEF and CC, which had entrusted ICFRE the task to prepare DPRs for rejuvenation of 13 major rivers in the country through forestry interventions.

Accordingly, RFRI was entrusted to prepare the DPR for rejuvenation and management of the mighty Red River through forestry interventions, Kalita informed.

The scientist said work on preparing the DPR started in 2019 and was completed within a year’s time and submitted last year to the Central Government.

He stated of having wide range of consultations and receiving active support from forest departments of all the north-eastern states along with West Bengal, premier research organisations/institutes of the region, including IIT Guwahati, Brahmaputra Board and experts carrying out research on river systems of the region, in preparing the DPR.

The DPR envisages taking up model-based plantation activities in natural, agriculture, and urban landscapes within the Brahmaputra basin, apart from interventions with respect to soil and water conservation, riparian wildlife and wetland management along with supporting activities, including creating mass awareness and capacity building of institutions and local communities, Kalita said.

The scientist disclosed that as many as 71 forestry models were developed for this purpose. He said the forestry interventions will focus on addressing major issues related to the river like decreasing soil erosion and sedimentation, increasing green cover, sequestering more atmospheric carbon, supporting livelihood issues, beautifying the river basin, augmenting biodiversity and educating the people on environmental issues.

The DPR proposes to rejuvenate about 51,500 hectares of the Brahmaputra riverscape in the seven states during the first phase for which Rs 1,135 crore has been proposed for carrying out the required interventions by the respective State forest departments and other relevant stakeholders, Kalita said.

He said that the DPR was prepared under the leadership of RFRI Director RSC Jayaraj, while nodal officer of the project was Dhrubajyoti Das, a scientist of RFRI.

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