Congress MLA from Chhaygaon Rekibuddin Ahmed has raised the issue of conservation of Deepor Beel and dolphins found in Kolohi river on the floor of the assembly on Thursday. Raising this issue during the question hour, Rekibuddin slammed the forest department for having an indifferent approach towards the protection of Deepor Beel and dolphins.
Later speaking to mediapersons outside the Assembly, he said, “I have raised the issue of Deepor Beel in the assembly thrice. There is widespread encroachment in the wetland from all sides. Not just me even AGP MLA Ramendra Narayan Kalita has raised this issue. If you look at a ten year old map of Deepor Beel and compare it with its present condition, you will witness vast change. There are big businessmen who have built buildings and godowns all around Deepor Beel. Because of the encroachment, number of migratory birds visiting the wetland has gone down. However, Forest Minister is indifferent on this issue and says that there is no encroachment. I request Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to do an enquiry on this matter so the truth comes out.”
Raising the issue of dolphins, he said, “As per the wildlife NGO Aaranyak, there are 25-27 dolphins in the Kolohi river. According to local people, the number will be around 70-80. However, in three years, four dolphins have died, including two calves. Rampant sand mining going on in the area has endangered the condition of dolphins. There is a nexus between the sand mafia and the government which allows such illegal practice to flourish. Dolphins have 111-year old history in the Kolohi river. If urgent steps are not taken for its conservation, these aquatic mammals will be wiped out completely.”
Noted environmentalist and president of the NGO Early Birds, Moloy Baruah, meanwhile said, “It is true that sand mining has threatened the conservation of dolphins. Dolphins mainly survive on eel fish and sand mining actually kills eel fishes in large number. However, it would be wrong to say that sand mining in Kolohi river or encroachment in Deepor Beel happened after the BJP government came to power. So, if Deepor Beel and dolphins are threatened today, even the earlier government needs to take up responsibility.”