Guwahati, Nov 5: Aaranyak (www.aaranyak.org), one of the premier biodiversity conservation organisations of India, is going to conduct a day-long consultation workshop on ‘Rivers and Wetlands of Guwahati City: Towards an integrated action plan for rejuvenation, conservation, and sustainable urban development,' on November 7 from 9.30 AM to 4.30 PM at the NEDFi House located at GS Road, Dispur, here.
The capital city of Assam, Guwahati, serves as a gateway not only to the NE region but also to Southeast Asia as reflected in the Government of India's Act East Policy.
One of the fastest growing cities in the country, it has a total area of more than 328 square kilometers and a population of more than ten lakh. As the city is located on the banks of the mighty river Brahmaputra, one of the largest rivers in the world, and its landscape is dotted with hills, hillocks, valleys, and water bodies, it has a unique natural physiography.
“The Bharalu, Mora Bharalu, Basistha, Bahini, Pamohi, Khanajan, Kalmoni, and Bondajan are some of the prominent rivers and streams that drain the cityscape.
The Deepar beel, Borsola, Sarusola and, Silsako are the main wetlands that act as storm water reservoirs of the city. It is noteworthy that several of these water bodies are hydrologically connected to each other meaning they carry and contribute water to one another.
In the case of some wetlands, the inter-connecting channels have disappeared due to unpragmatic constructions and land development.”, Dr Partha Jyoti Das, Environmental Scientist and Head of Aaranyak’s Water, Climate and Hazard Division (WATCH) quoted.
The workshop is a component of the second phase of activity under the project ‘Dying rivers of Assam: A study on degradation of selected rivers and riverine ecosystems in the Brahmaputra Valley for developing a community–based action plan for their rejuvenation’, being carried out by Aaranyak, a homegrown non-profit recognised as a ‘Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’ (SIRO) by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, with support from the State Innovation and Transformation Ayog (SITA), Government of Assam.
“Rapid urban growth and development accompanied by significant rise in population has dramatically transformed the city’s landscape, environment, natural resources, demography, and society in the last 50 years. Unplanned growth of the city, both in horizontal and vertical directions have resulted in tremendous pressure on its natural resources and environment which is observed in widespread encroachment and human occupation of the fragile hill slopes, reserved forests, and decimation of water bodies.
Increasing environmental degeneration of the city has led to the slow and steady death of many of its rivers, streams, wetlands, and natural storm water reservoirs.
The urban water bodies of the city are facing grave threats from pollution, ecological degradation, and physical decimation,” in a statement, Dr Das, who is coordinating the workshop, said
Several high-ranking officials from the Government of Assam, scientists, and technical experts from IIT Guwahati and Assam Pollution Control Board will participate in the workshop. Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, Ashok Singhal; Vice Chairman of SITA, Ramen Deka; Co-Vice Chairman of SIT, Dhruba Prasad Baishya are among the top representatives of the state government, who will deliberate the workshop with their views.