Locals of Deepor Beel Seek Realignment of Railway Tracks

Locals of Deepor Beel Seek Realignment of Railway Tracks

Locals of Deepor Beel have written 500 letters to the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) seeking realignment of a broad-gauge railway line, passing through the northern side of the wetland, to the Southern, in compliance with a National Green Tribunal (NGT's) order.

The villagers in the vicinity of Deepor Beel have also objected to the current proposal of Railways' for doubling the tracks on the southern side, which is much closer to the major elephant habitat, Rani Garbhanga Reserve Forest, than the existing one, this has been reported by Times of India.

Alifa Zibrani, a member of the city-based green group, The Midway Journey, while speaking to TOI said, "We have demanded to shift the existing railway tracks to the northern side as pointed out in the NGT order, dated February 11, 2020, completely leaving out the five elephant corridors and saving the ecology of the Deepor Beel. We have asked the ministry to take all the necessary steps to conserve Deepor Beel under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands."

Zibrani further stated that they seek ecotourism and other sustainable recreational activities for both the economical and ecological conservation of the wetland.

Zibrani said, "We fear that the realignment of the existing railway tracks will affect the local residential areas where nature, wild animals and humans co-exist. The doubling of tracks will change the dynamics of man-animal co-existence to conflict."

The report further stated that the local indigenous people inhabiting in Mikirpara-Chakardo revenue village close to the wetland, about 10km southwest of Guwahati, have also objected to the proposed construction of a tunnel in the hilly stretch of Rani Garbhanga Reserve Forest (for Railway Gate no 273 and nO 274) in the name of preventive measures.

The letter read, "We are worried and scared that two railway tunnels have been proposed in Rani Forest, which is a notified elephant corridor. This has been done without obtaining public hearing and in violation of the Supreme Court order, which is an illogical act."

The report further stated that Green activist Pramod Kalita has found a defect in the draft notification of the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of the Deepor Beel notified by the MoFCC on August 25.

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