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Decision to build concrete embankment opposed

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Jan 19 - The administration�s most recent decision to build a concrete embankment around the shore of the historic Dighalipukhuri on the pretext of its beautification, has become a cause of great concern among environmental activists of the region.

Aaranyak, an NGO pioneering biodiversity conservation in Assam since 1989, has raised questions on the ecological consequences that would lead from such concretisation of this historic wetland. The wetland has been facing perils of different types for many years, like dumping of waste, water pollution and lack of maintenance.

In a statement here today, Aaranyak secretary general Dr Bibhab Talukdar pointed out that a concrete embankment would cause great damage to the ecological equilibrium of the wetland and its ecosystem. The obstructive concrete between the water and shoreline of the water-body could even lead to death of fish and turtles, caused due to imbalance in aquatic physio-chemical composition.

Furthermore, if the vegetated area at the edge of the wetland � which would normally provide shelter, feeding places, breeding and nesting areas of aquatic life including fish, turtle and tortoise � is cleared and built over, it would completely destroy the needed PH balance and oxygen content in the century- old waterbody.

Dr Talukdar, while commending the intent of beautifying the Dighalipukhuri, has seriously urged the authorities concerned to re-evaluate the decision keeping in mind the ecological services and encourage the district authorities to consult with experts to ensure that the wetland quality of the Dighalipukhuri, which is a historic wetland, is not compromised. There are many eco-friendly ways of enhancing the pristine beauty of the Dighalipukhuri, and the ideal way forward would be to undertake the procedures approved by environmental experts, he said.

Dr Talukdar expressed Aaranyak�s readiness to lend support to the district administration in this regard. Aaranyak is equipped as well as prepared to lend assistance to the district administration in this regard, he said.

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