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CM Himanta Biswa Sarma urges railway to build elevator corridor in Deepor Beel to protect Elephants; Read to know more

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GUWAHATI: Union Minister of State for Railways and Textiles Darshana Jardosh, met Hon’ble CM Himanta Biswa Sarma at the latter’s official residence in the capital complex yesterday to discuss several key railway projects that are being done in Assam.

During the meeting, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma recommended that the Union Minister speed the electrification of the Assam section of the North-East Frontier Railway (NFR).

Himanta Biswa Sarma

He also asked the Union Minister to speed up the double-tracking work. He also requested the extension of the double track project to Dibrugarh.

Repeated elephant deaths

In light of the frequent elephant deaths in the Deepor Beel area, Chief Minister Sarma has asked the Union Minister to assist in the construction of an elevated corridor to provide the tuskers with an obstruction-free route.

About under-construction flyovers above railway tracks in several parts of the state, Chief Minister Dr. Sarma requested the Union Minister to use his position to persuade NFR to overcome the challenges that are preventing the flyovers from being completed. 

deepor beel elephant Himanta Biswa Sarma The North-Eastern Chronicle

In addition, CM Sarma has asked the Union Minister to increase the frequency of the Rajdhani Express between New Delhi and Agartala via Barak Valley to improve passenger comfort.

Further discussion laid by CM Himanta Biswa Sarma

Meanwhile, when it comes to the textile sector, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has urged that soon an Indian Institute of Fashion Technology will be established in Guwahati by the Union Minister.

meeting 1 Himanta Biswa Sarma The North-Eastern Chronicle

He requested her ministry’s assistance in modernizing Assam’s textile industry and helping Assam weavers’ creations enter the global market. The conference was also attended by senior officials from the state administration and the railways.

Deepor Beel declared as eco-sensitive zone

The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change has declared the Deepor Beel Wildlife Sanctuary’s eco-sensitive zone on the south-western outskirts of Guwahati on August 25.

In addition to being an Important Bird Area, Deepor Beel is one of Assam’s largest freshwater lakes and the state’s only Ramsar site. A railway track, which is set to be doubled and electrified, a waste dump, and encroachment from human settlement and commercial units have all been threats to the wetland for decades.

Himanta Biswa Sarma

According to the notification, it specified an area “to an extent varying from 294 meters to 16.32 km” as the eco-sensitive zone, with the total area being 148.9767 sq. km. But being adjacent to “fast-developing Guwahati”, the sanctuary is “facing immense biotic pressure by way of human settlements and ever-increasing development activities”, the notification said.

In the summer, the wetland can reach a size of 30 square kilometres, while in the winter, it shrinks to around 10 square kilometres. This wetland contains a wildlife sanctuary of 4.1 square kilometres.

According to Romila Boro, a sexagenarian resident of Chakardeo, the sanctuary’s “guardian village,” is optimistic that the notification would free the encroached wetland. She is disappointed, though, that the “good news” has come eight years late. Koliya Boro, her husband, was killed by a speeding train in 2014 while attempting to avoid colliding with an approaching herd of elephants. He was one of the area’s first conservationists.

“The zonation should help, but Deepor Beel’s water has become toxic and it has lost many of its aquatic plants that elephants would feed on. The wetland can breathe easier only if the railway track is diverted,” said Chakardeo dairy farmer and green guard Pramod Kalita.

“No new commercial hotels and resorts shall be permitted within 1 km of the boundary of the protected area or up to the extent of the eco-sensitive zone, whichever is nearer, except for small temporary structures for eco-tourism activities,” the notification said.

Also Read: Amit Shah authorises Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma to hold preliminary talks with ULFA

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