Guwahati: Renowned environmentalist and assistant professor of Omeo Kumar Das Institute of Social Change and Development (OKDISCD), Monjit Borthakur on Wednesday said, both the Centre as well as the state government of Assam must adopt a long-term restoration plan to revive the ecosystem of the Maguri-Motapung beel and its surrounding areas.
Borthakur said, “One can compensate the losses of men and its properties, not the ecosystem. Attempt to restore the nature artificially will create a counter effect. So, both the Centre, as well as the state government of Assam must adopt a long term restoration plan to revive the Maguri Motapung Beel and its surrounding areas.”
The environmentalist stressed that the local residents of Baghjan must be considered as one of the important stakeholders of the restoration plan. “The surrounding villages maintained a sustainable relationship with the Maguri-Motapung Beel. They (villagers) had been living dealing with the wetland for decades. Hence, no foreign environment experts or scientist can restore the Maguri-Motapung Beel without the villagers’ involvement,” Borthakur said.
He also expressed concern over the impact of the Baghjan gas well blowout in the local tourism trade. “Different species of migratory birds from Siberia usually flocked the wetland from September onwards every year. It attracted tourist enthusiasts from across the world. Collaterally, the growing footprints of the tourists boosted the local youths of Baghjan to adopt hospitality as a lucrative business. However, this trade will now encounter a big challenge, as the Maguri-Motapung Beel itself is now in crisis,” Borthakur observed.
Arguing that the Baghjan oil well blowout will also affect the socio-cultural tradition and other economic aspects of the local residents, the environmentalist further said, “Fishing at Maguri-Motapung Beel had been one of the major economic activities of the surrounding villagers through which they run their families. Moreover, the villagers could produce rice up to their requirement. However, since both the fertile land and water are being contaminated by the leakage of gas and condensate oil, this tradition too will vanish from their practices.”
Photo Credit: Mongabay-India