Thursday, January 22, 2009

Save Deepor Beel Andolan

One of my friend and senior Ajoy Das from leading environmental group of Assam Aaranyak is taking the initiative for the conservation of Deepor beel the lone Ramsar site of state of Assam. I am here attaching the fact sheet that he prepared and I urge all the concern people, environmentalist, scientist, wildlife biologists and general mass to support this noble cause--
(Subjected to correction and authentic inputs)
Save Deepor Beel Andolan

This facts sheet has been prepared for private circulation among the environmental lovers so that they can democratically resist the plan of N. F. railways plan to newly construct the railway track near deepor beel which would be towards Meghalaya (main current issue of Save Deepor Beel Andolan).The railway track is just an attempt to fill up few influential people’s pockets in the name of development. The existing railway track has already caused devastation and would cause more due to more frequenting of goods trains. Deepor beel still fights with number of problems part from the goods railway track.
→Communities residing near deepor beel, of which mostly are tribal and agriculturist, have been harmoniously residing near deepor beel since time immemorial and thus they are integral part of deepor beel. The Communities are the part of wetland conservation throughout the world.
→Deepor beel serves as a storm water basin for the people of Guwahati. It has medicinal plants which the communities depend on them since ages to cure their diseases (Traditional and Indigenous knowledge system). Each year there are migratory birds which comes to deepor beel. Weather birds like- Golden plover, Little-winged plover, bank myna etc, have a sharp decreasing trend. Nowadays, they are almost not visible at all. Deepor beel has also endemic birds. There are more than 219 bird species of which 70 species are waterfowl, 20 amphibian, 12 lizards, 18 snakes and 6 turtle and tortoise species, apart from the 50 fish species along with 18 genera of phytoplankton and 21 genera of zooplanktons are recorded so far from this beel.
→Deepor beel is a culturally important for the people of Assam. Way back during British regime Deshabhakta Tarun Ram Phukan wrote an autobiography called ‘Tarun Ram Phukanar Shikar Kahini’. People of Assam do not need any introduction of late Tarun Ram Phukan, the freedom fighter who fought against the British. In his autobiography he has given vivid description about deepor beel and the waterfowls found there. His hunting associate was Late Tabak Mikir who’s Grandsons Mr. Lakhsman Teron and Mr. Keshab Teron still resides near deepor beel.
→It was proposed as Wildlife Sanctuary in the year 1992 and it still remains so. Unfortunately, it has not yet been declared as sanctuary till date.
→In the year 1989/90(year not known exactly), construction of railway line over/north bank/south bank of deepor beel was proposed. Amidst lot of cry and resistance from environmental groups and the local people residing at deepor beel, the railway track at the south bank was made depriving many people of their agricultural and residential land land.
→By way of notification dated Dispur, the 31st May ’95 all the wetlands were made reserved wetlands in Assam due to their ecological importance.
→In the year 2001/2002 the railway line was completed which intersect the elephant corridor of the site. The deepor beel also interacts with the other wild life of Rani Garbhanga Reserve forests at high note which has been greatly destroyed because of the goods railway track
→Due to the railway line life of many elephants have turned to death. Since the existence of this Railway track near about eight (8) elephants have been killed, besides minor and major injuries the elephants suffer from time to time.
→Deepor Beel was granted Ramsar site recognition on 19/8/2002 bearing Ramsar site no. 1207 under Convention on wetlands of Wetlands of International Importance Especially as waterfowl Habitat. popularly known as Ramsar Convention. As such India has international obligation to protect and preserve Deepor Beel.In Assam deeor beel is the only one such wetland of international reputation.
→On 7th July 2005 at Vigyan Path, Paschim Boragaon, Garchuk, Guwahati-781035 was made a Garbage Dump of the entire garbage of the Guwahati city. The garbage dump is just near deepor beel touching the water of deepor beel.The garbage dump is very near to the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology(IASST),Production center of ARTFED near deepor beel and also Pragjoytish English High School.
→Recently, some part of the area surrounding the deepor beel has also been declared as Eco-Sensitive Zone. Sahara India had to stop their large scale construction plan of building up a township after declaring it so.
→Deepor beel has also been included as directory of Asian wetlands as wetland type-14.
→One year back, notification was issued for acquisitions of land for the new construction of railway track .Notices are being issued to various cultivators and residential owners of the land for acquiring their land. As such, the rail way track towards Pamohi, Moinakhurung, and Garughuli and so on would affect more than 500 families. The rail way track is primarily to transit coal from Megahalya. The people of the deepor beel region have remained helpless on various such issues. They desperately need help. [Information collected from local people]
Pleaser circulate this facts sheet to all concerned and join the Save Deepor Beel Andolan providing your valuable suggestions, show of interest, further information on the facts sheet, contact addresses, numbers and e-mail ids (if any) to --

Ajoy Kumar Das
Contact no.9957387738
e-mail- ,
50, Samanwoy Path, Survey, Beltola, Guwahati-781028
Please note that any co-operation on this issue would be kept secret.
I urge all the prople to extend their helping hand to Ajoy.
Kripal-the naturelover
Mr. Kripaljyoti Mazumdar, JRF
G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development,
North East Unit, Itanagar Arunachal Pradesh, India-791113.
Phone-0091-360 -2216423(O); Mob: +91-9615041048
6, Tribeni Path, Chandan Nagar
Six Mile, Guwahati-781022Assam (India)
"Nature has been for me, as long as
I remember, a source of solace, inspiration,
adventure, and delight; a home, a teacher, and a companion." — Lorraine Anderson


NEHA said...

Hi kripal!

Being a student of the field of environment i very well understand the consequences of such constructions and i stronly oppose such encroachments in the wild. But it is a pity that the decision-makers and policy makers in our country do not understand the implications of the decisions made by them, ignoring the realities.

And this ignorance is not first of its kind in India. Since time immemorial the same injustice has been imposed onto our environment.

i think if such decisions are continued to be made, then no doubt people will start considering the concept of 'protected areas' as a MYTH.

Kripal said...

Hi, Neha
Thats right, there are lot of issues now a days, we young environmentalist should focus on, moving out of the laboratory and the classroom activities.
Particularly, in North-east India,even the EIAs which has been done for certain developmental project has been questioned? Would like to know more about such happenings and present trends in your area as well.

NEHA said...

There are many such instances where decisions have been made to favour mankind at the expense of nature.
One such eg is the construction of Dharma port at the Gahirmatha beach, Orissa. The port constuction would not only affect the turtle breeding but will also impact the nearby bhitarkanika sactuary. Still the work is going on....