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Govt to solve Deepor Beel fishermen�s woes

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 7 � The State Government has agreed to settle the livelihood issues of the Deepor Beel fishermen through discussion. It has also announced its resolve to protect the Deepor Beel sanctuary.

Environment and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain, while replying to a call attention motion moved by Asom Gana Parishad�s (AGP�s) Ramendra Narayan Kalita on the above issues at the State Assembly recently, described Deepor Beel as an important wetland of the NE region and said the Government is taking every possible measure to protect the wetland and also to provide alternative livelihood sources to the fishermen community dependent on this wetland. The Government had on February 9 last declared a 4.1 square km area of the wetland a sanctuary and Forest Guards are conducting patrol to protect it.

Awareness meetings among the people of surrounding areas have also been organized to make them aware of the importance of the wetland. Watch towers have been erected on the southern fringe of the wetland and the Railway authorities have also been contacted to avoid accidents.

Moreover, procurement of boats guarding the wetland has been proposed during the current financial year and Kamrup (Metro) District and State Pollution Control Board authorities have been contacted to bring the pollution of the wetland under control, he mentioned.

Meanwhile, solar transmitters have also been installed and support of the Google website has been taken to study the arrival and movement of the migratory birds inside the wetland, said the Minister.

Raising the matter, Ramendra Narayan Kalita said that the famous wetland, the largest of the Asian wetlands and a Ramsar site, has been facing a serious threat to its existence due to functioning of the polluting industrial units inside the area.

Moreover, unabated encroachment and digging activities are going on inside the beel area and the sewage released by the city to the wetland has been polluting it further. Though the Government had declared about 414 hectare area of the beel a bird sanctuary way back in 1989, it has failed to take any action for its conservation.

The Forest Minister had said in 2007-08 that a scheme had been drawn to develop the beel. But, no step was taken for the purpose. The Rs 12-crore project taken up by the Science and Technology Department of the State for its development also failed to deliver the goods.

Further, Kalita said, the Government has not taken any alternative measure to address the livelihood-related concerns of the fishermen community dependent on the beel, Kalita said.

The pollution and other unhealthy developments taking place in the wetland have resulted in the dwindling number of migratory birds that used to visit the wetland in huge numbers in the bygone days, he said.

Calling for a suitable policy to conserve the wetland and also to provide an alternative source of livelihood to the fishermen community, Kalita also suggested that the wetland could be developed as an enviable eco-tourism destination.

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Govt to solve Deepor Beel fishermen�s woes

GUWAHATI, March 7 � The State Government has agreed to settle the livelihood issues of the Deepor Beel fishermen through discussion. It has also announced its resolve to protect the Deepor Beel sanctuary.

Environment and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain, while replying to a call attention motion moved by Asom Gana Parishad�s (AGP�s) Ramendra Narayan Kalita on the above issues at the State Assembly recently, described Deepor Beel as an important wetland of the NE region and said the Government is taking every possible measure to protect the wetland and also to provide alternative livelihood sources to the fishermen community dependent on this wetland. The Government had on February 9 last declared a 4.1 square km area of the wetland a sanctuary and Forest Guards are conducting patrol to protect it.

Awareness meetings among the people of surrounding areas have also been organized to make them aware of the importance of the wetland. Watch towers have been erected on the southern fringe of the wetland and the Railway authorities have also been contacted to avoid accidents.

Moreover, procurement of boats guarding the wetland has been proposed during the current financial year and Kamrup (Metro) District and State Pollution Control Board authorities have been contacted to bring the pollution of the wetland under control, he mentioned.

Meanwhile, solar transmitters have also been installed and support of the Google website has been taken to study the arrival and movement of the migratory birds inside the wetland, said the Minister.

Raising the matter, Ramendra Narayan Kalita said that the famous wetland, the largest of the Asian wetlands and a Ramsar site, has been facing a serious threat to its existence due to functioning of the polluting industrial units inside the area.

Moreover, unabated encroachment and digging activities are going on inside the beel area and the sewage released by the city to the wetland has been polluting it further. Though the Government had declared about 414 hectare area of the beel a bird sanctuary way back in 1989, it has failed to take any action for its conservation.

The Forest Minister had said in 2007-08 that a scheme had been drawn to develop the beel. But, no step was taken for the purpose. The Rs 12-crore project taken up by the Science and Technology Department of the State for its development also failed to deliver the goods.

Further, Kalita said, the Government has not taken any alternative measure to address the livelihood-related concerns of the fishermen community dependent on the beel, Kalita said.

The pollution and other unhealthy developments taking place in the wetland have resulted in the dwindling number of migratory birds that used to visit the wetland in huge numbers in the bygone days, he said.

Calling for a suitable policy to conserve the wetland and also to provide an alternative source of livelihood to the fishermen community, Kalita also suggested that the wetland could be developed as an enviable eco-tourism destination.