GUWAHATI, Sept 28 - The answer to the phenomena of flood and erosion connected with the Brahmaputra and its numerous tributaries does not lie in diverting their waters to other parts of the country or in damming them for hydropower generation. The answer lies in searching for a way that will keep the river, along with its tributaries, alive and vibrant so that the human civilisation developed on their banks keeps on thriving, said renowned anthropologist Prof AC Bhagabati.
Prof Bhagabati argued that the Brahmaputra has impacted the civilisation of the Brahmaputra Valley in different ways. Without the Brahmaputra, the verdant North East region, particularly the Brahmaputra Valley, would have been a desert. Block or divert this river and in no time this verdant region will get obliterated and its lush green ambience and rich biodiversity will only remain confined to the pages of history books, he warned.
Prof Bhagabati, a former Vice Chancellor of the Arunachal Pradesh University (now Rajiv Gandhi University) and presently head of the NE Regional Centre of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, was talking to this correspondent.
He maintained that the Brahmaputra has kept the entire valley region green and verdant with a luxuriant vegetation on which humans as well as other animal life survive and flourish.
The Brahmaputra, with its drainage network has emerged as the main support system for the rich biodiversity of the valley and a vast area of the rest of the NE region as well, said Prof Bhagabati.
Though detailed studies on the economic impacts of the river are still awaited, it can be safely stated that the Brahmaputra has made an impact on the economy of the NE region, particularly the valley, in both positive and negative ways.
It is a source of living for the fishermen and boatmen communities. It is also a major waterway, though its potential as an international waterway remains mostly underutilised.
On both its banks, the river has led to flourishing growth of cultures and communities, including their religious beliefs, he said.
Along with its tributaries, the Brahmaputra is a major source of water, including drinking water, for the people of the region. On the negative side, it may well be surmised that because of our lack of proper initiative, this river, along with its tributaries, has become a source of misery in the forms of flood and erosion.
But to solve these problems, dams or diversion of its water in the name of interlinking of rivers are not the right answers. The answer lies in providing the river and its tributaries deep channels, asserted the renowned anthropologist. He said there is a need to properly project the water requirement in the NE for sustainable as well as a prosperous economy for the decades to come.