Brahmaputra river
River Brahmaputra. Image credit - Factins

After the Ganga, it is the turn of the Brahmaputra to be rejuvenated with smart forest interventions.

The Rain Forest Research Institute at Jorhat has been tasked with preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for rejuvenation of river Brahmaputra through forestry interventions, the first meeting of which was held on Tuesday.

As per a similar project being undertaken on the Ganga, extensive plantations in natural, agriculture, and urban landscapes besides conservation interventions such as soil and water conservation, riparian wildlife management and wetland management are being undertaken in a phased manner.

Supporting activities such as policy and law interventions, concurrent research, monitoring and evaluation and mass awareness have also been undertaken.

The Forest Research Institute, Dehradun prepared the DPR (Forestry Interventions) for Ganga in 2016 under the aegis of Namami Ganga Programme of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.

On similar line, the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India has undertaken the task of preparation of a DPR for rejuvenation of 13 major rivers in the country through forestry interventions.

Rain Forest Research Institute (RFRI), Jorhat, a constituent of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun has been given the responsibility to prepare the DPR for rejuvenation of Brahmaputra.

In Tuesday’s meeting headed by RFRI director RSC Jayaraj, senior forest officers from Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Manipur; officers of Brahmaputra Board, academicians from Dibrugarh University, Gauhati University and Tezpur University, and scientists from premier institutes such as North Eastern Space Applications Centre, Shillong were present.

Besides, officers from North Eastern Regional Institute of Water and Land Management, Tezpur; CSIR-North East Institute of Science & Technology, Jorhat; National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, Jorhat; NGO members of Polygon Foundation-NE, senior officers from Central Water Commission and Flood and River Erosion Management Agency put their heads together to come up with a comprehensive framework for the DPR.

Scientist and coordinator of the project D.J. Das said the objective was to review and assess the existing situation of the river basin, past river management and implications and identify and involve stakeholders.

The meeting also aimed to assess the ongoing forestry activities of the states, assess potential and possibilities for regeneration, improvement, and restoration of forest catchments, riparian forests and potential of biological filters.

“The plan will also examine the possibility of allied and other income generation activities, assess the potential of cultivation of medicinal plants and restoration of conservation areas. Finally, the plan will have strategies, approaches, and activities for project implementation,” he said.

During the deliberation, the participants discussed various issues related to the Brahmaputra and its tributaries. The meeting ended with the vote of thanks by R. K. Kalita, scientist, RFRI, Jorhat.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: triptyaddy@gmail.com

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