GUWAHATI, Feb 11 � The water-spread area of the famous wetland Chandubi Beel, known for its clean environment and scenic beauty, is shrinking. Though no final word on the destiny of the wetland has been uttered by any authority, it is obvious that the water body is facing a serious threat. However, the factors contributing to this sorry state of affairs remain to be determined.
That the wetland has got its water- spread area reduced has been revealed by the study conducted by the Assam Remote Sensing Application Centre (ARSAC) of the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC) using Survey of India toposheet and satellite imagery last year covering the period between 1911 and 2007.
According to the data available with the ARSAC, in 1911-12, the Beel had a water-spread area of 448.60 hectares. In 1954, it amplified to 481.19 hectares probably under the impact of the 1950 earthquake. In 1967-68, it recorded a decreased water-spread area of 392.61 hectares. In 1997, it recorded a water-spread area of 203.20 hectares and in 2007, it recorded a water-spread area of 186.52 hectares, said ARSAC scientist Prasanna Baruah, who conducted the study.
Similarly, the depth of the lake has been reduced from 8 metres to 3 metres during the recent period, Baruah said.
Barua maintained that detailed studies at catchment level are needed to determine the cause or causes of the reduction in the water-spread area of the wetland.
The wetland is located in the southern part of Kamrup district with Barduar Reserved Forest to its north and Mayang Hill Reserved forest to its south on the interstate border of Assam and Meghalaya. The wetland is believed to be the creation of the 1897 great earthquake that shook this region with bigger than 8.7 magnitude on the Richter scale.
However, according to some geologists, the wetland was created by a barrier confronted by the flow of the diverted course of a river, which later reverted to its original course.
The wetland has several streams connected with it from both northern and southern sides and it has sent out a stream to meet the Kulshi, a southern tributary of the Brahmaputra, which is surrounding the water body.
Some natural mysteries like the Botha River going underground and then resurfacing, the water falls of Bornijora and the Jhalkat and the famous elephant trapping spot Hatigarh have made the environment of the lake highly potential for tourism development.