Guwahati, Monday, May 31, 2010
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Distillery plant on Dara beel bank opposed
 MIRZA, May 30 – When the perilous state of the wetlands demand scientific measures for the conservation of the rich aquatic biodiversity as well as for the protection of livelihood sources of the poorest of the poor, the proposed move of setting up an industrial distillery plant here on the bank of Dara beel in Kamrup district has raised the spectre of a bleak future for the entire rich aquatic zone.

 Displaying utter disregard to the wave of protests, the plant authority are going on with the project. But opposition to the project is snowballing with people in thousands joining hands to foil the move. Expressing serious concern over the future of the major wetland, a Kuldung based group of fisherman said that disturbance of such a magnitude will ruin their livelihood sources.

Fisherman of host of villages like Kuldung, Bhakatpara, Mazpara, Guimara, Satrapara, Rajapukhuri Khidirpukhuri have been making both ends meet from the 20 No Dara Beel located at Rampur.

As far as fish diversity is concerned, this wetland connected with Kalahi tributary is a host to 60 species of fishes both commercial and ornamental, and nearly 30 species of aquatic fauna including various amphibions and soft-sheeled turtle. The flood mitigation role being played by this wetland of 116 hectare water area is protecting the entire area from submersion.

But with the setting up of a 200 KLPD grain-based distillery, 15 KLPD Malt spirit, IMFL bottling plant country liquor and a 10 MW of Power Plant, on the south bank of the Dara beel the whole aquatic zone will be in jeopardy. Consequences will ecologically be disastrous as contamination of water quality will not only spell doom for the aquatic biodiversity but also affect the habitant of the national and state aquatic animal the Gangatic river dolphin.

The confluence of Dara Beel and Kalahi is the ideal habitat of the schedule 1 protected Gangetic river dolphin because of the availability of pey fish and once the project becomes operational polluted water of the beel will find its way to the Kalahi.

Dr MM Goswami, an academician with GU and the advisor of the newly-formed public platform-Brihattar Rampur Janasartha Surakhya Samittee said the discharge rate of the inter channel connected to the Kalahi is 0.9- 15.8 cubic metres for record which is instrumental in keeping the wetland alive.

Raising the pitch, a copy of the memorandum which has been separately sent to the chief executives both of the Centre and the State has also been sent to the Ministry of Environment and Forest pleading for an injunction against the clearance of certificate to NV Distillery & Brewaries North East Pvt Ltd at Rampur, Kamrup by an order No. J-11011/839/2008-LA-II (I), dated December 7, 2009.

In the memorandum they have alleged that the ‘so-called’ public hearing held on September 2009 was conducted flouting all the required guidelines of Government of India. Besides holding the public hearing in camera which is against the norms of MOEF only a few people were allegedly invited. In support of their opposition to the proposed move, a group of students said “We don’t support the presence of such a unit which is inimical both to aquatic ecosystem and to social environment.

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