Guwahati, Thursday, October 11, 2018
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Govt to form panel to restore, protect Deepor Beel

 GUWAHATI, Oct 10 - The State government has decided to form a multi-stakeholder ‘council’ to restore and revive Deepor Beel in the city.

Official sources said the council, which will include representatives from different departments including Forest, GMC, GMDA, GDD, PCBA, Revenue and Tourism, will be personally supervised by the Chief Minister.

“The basic mandate of the council will be to restore and revive the wetland. It will supervise the entire management of the beel,” sources told The Assam Tribune.

There were two streams which connected the wetland to the Brahmaputra and they were its natural outlets.

“The drainage from the wetland through the two streams was a natural process. When the water used to recede, it used to take all the dirt and filth away. But, unfortunately, the two outlets no longer exist,” the sources said.

The GMC has been asked to conduct a survey and locate the two streams in the toposheet as well as detail their current status. It has been asked to submit a report within two weeks. The Guwahati Development Department has been asked to make a presentation on its Smart City project, and bring out the salient features linked to the wetland.

“The Smart City project needs to include the concerns of the Deepor Beel. The government intends to know the areas which need to be addressed while executing the Smart City project. After the presentation, roles will be defined to the line departments. The council is expected to be formed after the GDD prepares the presentation, tentatively this month itself,” the sources said.

According to government data, Guwahati city generates around 550 tonnes of solid waste per day (TPD) and disposes it in an open dumpsite at Boragaon adjacent to Deepor Beel, thus posing severe ecological imbalance with respect to land, water and air pollution in the area. Fish deaths are frequently reported in the water-body.

According to documents, Deepor Beel is spread over an area of 40.14 sq km during the monsoon, which includes encroached, reclaimed and developed areas. The water-body is currently estimated to be around 9.27 sq km and the sanctuary is of 4.1 sq km.

Depth of the beel ranges from about 7 metres to 1.5 metres depending on the monsoon or dry season. The site is reported to support a number of IUCN red-listed species.

Deepor Beel has both biological and environmental importance besides being the only major stormwater storage basin for Guwahati city. It is considered as one of the staging sites for migratory birds in India and some of the large congregations of aquatic birds in Assam during winter.

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