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Stone quarries back along Deepor Beel

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  13 July 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Flouting Kamrup district administration orders, two quarries in Pamohi cutting down hills with heavy machinery

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, July 12: Less than three and a half months after the Kamrup metropolitan administration cancelled licenses of all stone quarries along Deepor Beel - from Gorchuk to Rani, at least two quarries have mushroomed again within the eco-system of the Ramsar site.

The quarries, located in the Pamohi area, have been functioning since last fortnight, locals told this newspaper, adding that the operators are using heavy machineries destructive to the eco-system of the pristine wetland. "The hills are being cut from morning till evening. Both the quarries are located within a radius of 500 metres from the Deepor Beel," a local said.

On April 1, the Kamrup district administration had issued an order cancelling licenses of all stone quarries from Gorchuk to Rani along side Deepor Beel, stating that they are having an adverse impact on local biodiversity, besides creating pollution.

When asked, an official of the administration said, "The Forest department is looking into the issue. A lot of infrastructure projects are coming up in the vicinity. May be the demand for construction materials has propelled the Forest department to allow two quarries to operate."

Deepor Beel, a biodiversity-rich wetland, is the lone Ramsar site in Assam. Wetlands are the kidneys of ture as they recharge groundwater and serve as storm water reservoirs. People depend on them for fishing and aquaculture. They also influence a region's micro-climate.

Deepor Beel was notified Ramsar site for 40 sq km area. Now, only 10 sq km is available for its water spread. It is considered as one of the staging sites for migratory birds in India as well as some of the large congregations of aquatic birds in Assam during winter. Because of the richness of avian fau it enjoyed, Deepor Beel has been selected as one of the Important Bird Area (IBA) sites by Birdlife Intertiol.

According to a Planning Commission report, quarrying within Deepor Beel has pushed this once-pristine ecosystem to the brink of disappearance.

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