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�Save Deepor Beel� campaign goes global

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 7 � A committee to launch a worldwide campaign for saving Deepor Beel, the lone Ramsar Site water body of the State, was formed under the name and style of Deepor Beel Conservation Movement, at a function at Gauhati University (GU) here today with four voluntary groups of the NE region. The member groups of the committee are the city-based Environ, Abhiyatri, Panchatatva and the Imphal-based North Eastern Centre for Environment Education and Research (NECEER).

The members of the committee later took an oath at the Pamohi part of the wetland to save it at any cost. Amarjyoti Kashyap, president of the Environ, has been named chief convenor of the committee. Environment activists of the State have been agitating, since 1989, to save the wetland and its unique ecosystem.

The four organisations undertook a two-day programme at GU, Deepor Beel, Silchar Assam University and Imphal � Save Loktak and Deepor Beel Campaign, 2010 � to arrive at this conclusion for spreading the movement to other parts of the globe.

On occasion of the two-day campaign, a seminar was held at the Phanidhar Dutta Seminar Hall of GU this morning with former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCCF) of the State Mohan Chandra Malakar in the chair.

Speaking at the seminar, Dr Prasanta Kumar Saikia, Reader of the GU Zoology Department regretted that since the laying of the railroad through the wetland in 1989, the famous beel has been facing serious threats to its existence.

The denudation of the forests along its fringe line and indiscriminate cutting of the Garbhanga Hill and quarrying of stone in the adjacent hill have been making the wetland shallow. Moreover, to make the matter worse, unabated encroachment and digging inside the beel area have been degrading several parts of the wetland, said Dr Saikia.

Dr Saikia laid equal stress on community participation and on official measures to protect the beel

Dr HP Sarma, Reader of the GU Environmental Science Department said in his presentation that dumping of municipal solid waste of Guwahati might lead to a serious threat to the health of the Guwahatians. Referring to the Minamata episode of Japan he said that similar situation might develop also in Guwahati if unabated dumping of solid waste along the Deepor Beel is allowed to continue.

Minamata is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning. It may also lead to death. A congenital form of the disease can also affect fetuses in the womb.

The syndrome has been named Minamata following the discovery of the death of people in the early part of the 20 th Century in the Minamata area of Japan due to excessive dumping of mercury by the Chisso International Company, a chemical fertilizer producing company.

Dr Sarma suggested that scientific measures should be taken to treat the solid wastes of Guwahati before dumping them on or near the waterbodies.

In his address, Mohan Chandra Malakar said that though Deepor Beel has been declared a bird sanctuary, some people have approached the court challenging the proclamation. This has added to the problems of the wetland.

The beel now needs a development authority to develop it in a manner that ensures livelihood options for the people depending on it traditionally and also to prevent illegal activities inside the beel areas. In this connection he referred to The Guwahati Waterbodies (Preservation and Conservation) Act, 2008.

Section 4 of the Act has declared filling up of the waterbodies, construction of structures inside the waterbodies, dumping of harmful solid wastes on the waterbodies, among others, said the former PCCF of the State.

The function was also addressed by Beena Sarma, president of the Abhiyatri and Amarjyoti Kashyap, among others.

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�Save Deepor Beel� campaign goes global

GUWAHATI, March 7 � A committee to launch a worldwide campaign for saving Deepor Beel, the lone Ramsar Site water body of the State, was formed under the name and style of Deepor Beel Conservation Movement, at a function at Gauhati University (GU) here today with four voluntary groups of the NE region. The member groups of the committee are the city-based Environ, Abhiyatri, Panchatatva and the Imphal-based North Eastern Centre for Environment Education and Research (NECEER).

The members of the committee later took an oath at the Pamohi part of the wetland to save it at any cost. Amarjyoti Kashyap, president of the Environ, has been named chief convenor of the committee. Environment activists of the State have been agitating, since 1989, to save the wetland and its unique ecosystem.

The four organisations undertook a two-day programme at GU, Deepor Beel, Silchar Assam University and Imphal � Save Loktak and Deepor Beel Campaign, 2010 � to arrive at this conclusion for spreading the movement to other parts of the globe.

On occasion of the two-day campaign, a seminar was held at the Phanidhar Dutta Seminar Hall of GU this morning with former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCCF) of the State Mohan Chandra Malakar in the chair.

Speaking at the seminar, Dr Prasanta Kumar Saikia, Reader of the GU Zoology Department regretted that since the laying of the railroad through the wetland in 1989, the famous beel has been facing serious threats to its existence.

The denudation of the forests along its fringe line and indiscriminate cutting of the Garbhanga Hill and quarrying of stone in the adjacent hill have been making the wetland shallow. Moreover, to make the matter worse, unabated encroachment and digging inside the beel area have been degrading several parts of the wetland, said Dr Saikia.

Dr Saikia laid equal stress on community participation and on official measures to protect the beel

Dr HP Sarma, Reader of the GU Environmental Science Department said in his presentation that dumping of municipal solid waste of Guwahati might lead to a serious threat to the health of the Guwahatians. Referring to the Minamata episode of Japan he said that similar situation might develop also in Guwahati if unabated dumping of solid waste along the Deepor Beel is allowed to continue.

Minamata is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning. It may also lead to death. A congenital form of the disease can also affect fetuses in the womb.

The syndrome has been named Minamata following the discovery of the death of people in the early part of the 20 th Century in the Minamata area of Japan due to excessive dumping of mercury by the Chisso International Company, a chemical fertilizer producing company.

Dr Sarma suggested that scientific measures should be taken to treat the solid wastes of Guwahati before dumping them on or near the waterbodies.

In his address, Mohan Chandra Malakar said that though Deepor Beel has been declared a bird sanctuary, some people have approached the court challenging the proclamation. This has added to the problems of the wetland.

The beel now needs a development authority to develop it in a manner that ensures livelihood options for the people depending on it traditionally and also to prevent illegal activities inside the beel areas. In this connection he referred to The Guwahati Waterbodies (Preservation and Conservation) Act, 2008.

Section 4 of the Act has declared filling up of the waterbodies, construction of structures inside the waterbodies, dumping of harmful solid wastes on the waterbodies, among others, said the former PCCF of the State.

The function was also addressed by Beena Sarma, president of the Abhiyatri and Amarjyoti Kashyap, among others.

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