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Protect Deepor beel: Mike Pandey

  • Mike Pandey
    Mike Pandey

“If the government of Assam thinks that nature conservation is important, it must clear the Deepor Beel, a Ramsar Site and one of the best wetland ecosystems, from encroachment. It is a crucial time for Earth and our ecology, and we must act sincerely to protect what nature has bestowed on us.”

Renowned wildlife filmmaker and environment crusader Mike Pandey made this observation raising concerns on the indifferent and selfish attitude of human beings towards conservation of nature. He was delivering the Dr. Robin Banerjee Memorial Lecture at Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture in Guwahati. “It's a shame to find Deepor Beel, a Ramsar site, turned into a dumping ground. It is time to wake up. I request the state government to take the initiative to clean it up,” Pandey said. It is to be noted that apart from rich biodiversity and ecosystem, the water body maintains the water level of the Guwahati city. During monsoon it works as a reservoir to excess water.

The three-time Green Oscar winner was in Guwahati to deliver the annual Dr Robin Banerjee Memorial Lecture — organised on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the great conservationist Padmashree Robin Banerjee. Kaziranga Wildlife Society has been celebrating 12th August, the birth day of Dr. Banerjee, as Nature Conservation Day as a mark of respect to his contribution to nature and wildlife conservation. Dr Banerjee, a physician by profession was an avid photographer, painter and had 28 documentaries on nature to his credit. He was also the founder president of Kaziranga Wildlife Society, the oldest nature organization in the Northeast founded in 1969.

Pandey paid tribute to Banerjee by expressing deep respect to his vision and tireless work. Banerjee began his journey as a nature photographer when he was appointed the chief medical officer in Upper Assam. His film The Messenger from Kaziranga was the result of his adventures inside Kaziranga with a camera for six years. It was telecast in Berlin TV in 1961 which helped the sanctuary become one of the world’s favourite tourist destinations.

Besides Deepor Beel, Pandey urged the state government to deploy more forest guards to protect rhinos in Kaziranga National Park. The unabated poaching of rhinos in the Kaziranga National Park has compounded his disappointment. He gave a wake-up call to the state to do the needful and save the wetlands and the rhinos before it's too late. Pandey also expressed serious concern over the rise of man animal conflict in Assam. At least 600 such cases were reported since the beginning of 2013.

Pandey is renowned for his pioneering and landmark conservation works and has been globally honoured. He is India’s iconic wildlife conservationist, environmentalist and filmmaker. His outstanding efforts led to legislation to protect the whale shark not only in India (under Wildlife Act 1972) but also globally along with protection for other species over the years. His documentary Shores of Silence: Whale Sharks in India propelled the ban on the killing of whale sharks on Indian shores in 2000.  In 1994, he became the first Asian producer/ director to win the Wildscreen Panda Award also known as the Green Oscar for his film 'The Last Migration — Wild Elephant Capture in Surguja'. Pandey has won over 300 awards across the globe for his work to spread awareness about biodiversity and conservation. Earth Matters-- his TV series on DD national network, reaches about 800 million people every week.

Pandey’s speech was short and informative that enlightened the students of city’s schools who participated in the event. They had a lively interaction session with the documentary maker after the screening of his three films — Shores of Silence: Whale Sharks in India, The Vanishing Giants and The Vanishing Vulture. Pandey’s film, The Vanishing Vulture, highlighted how over the years population of vulture, the “nature’s most efficient scavenger” in India, has gone down to a few thousands from a state that had the highest vulture population density in the world in the 1980s.

Two books were released on the occasion. A short biography on the life of Robin Banerjee, penned by Ramani Kanta Deka in Assamese was released by the KWS president Abani Baruah. ‘Jilmil Xonowali Din’—a children book on conservation, authored by writer-activist Mubina Akhtar in Assamese was inaugurated by Mike Pandey.


Photo: Prabal Kumar Das

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Chandan Kumar Duarah's picture

The writer is a former Robert Bosch Fellow, an environmentalist and Guwahati based journalist.

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Baby Elephant found dead in Udalguri

20 Nov 2017 - 10:31pm | Robertson Tanti

The mysterious death of an elephant calf casts no less spell of shadow in Udalguri on Monday. According to Ranjit Tanti, a wildlife activist, the calf, aged around 8, was found dead at a paddy field in Jorpukhuri village under Nonai forest range.

A team of forest officials rushed to the spot after some villagers informed them about the dead calf and postmortem of the carcass was on the spot and buried. The exact cause of the pachyderm's death is yet to be ascertained. The forest official Kushal Deka said, adding that no injury mark was found on the carcass during preliminary examinations.

The forest official did not find any electric wires, generally put up by local farmers around their croplands to prevent wild elephants from destroying their crops.

This is the third incident of elephant death since October 2017 in Udalguri district, Ranjit Tanti said.

In the past few months, there have been a number of human-elephant conflicts in the Indo-Bhutan border areas of Udalguri district comprising Hattigarh, Borengajuli, Budlapara, Majuli, Bhooteachang tea estates.

The region has witnessed several killings of tribals as well as elephants and widespread damage to house and crops by rogue pachyderms in the past years.

NH blockade for Bodoland

14 Oct 2015 - 10:26am | Hantigiri Narzary

The demand for separate state of Bodoland, has again got a gained today as tens of thousands of supporters and common publics thronged along the 31C National Highways at Ramfalbil in Kokrajhar district of Assam to blockade, demanded early creation of Bodoland separate state carving existing Assam and held good governance and people's development. 

The agitators shouted slogans with banner, festoon, placards demanding divide Assam 50/50, we want justice, No Bodoland No Rest and Jan Denver Raj Lengge.

The road communication through the national highway has been disrupted since 5 am in the district today and district administration has deployed strong security personnel along the national highway. 

Promod Boro, president of the ABSU while participating the blockade said that creation of separate Bodoland state is the ultimate goal and no compromise without separate Bodoland. 

He told that create Bodoland state under Article 2 and 3 of Indian constitution without any delayed. 

He has warned for vigorous agitation like 100 hours rail blockade, 100 hours national highway blockade and mass agitation to the demand of separate Bodoland state in 7th early manner. 

He has slammed government at the centre said that the govt have not been initiated to solve issues of the Bodo as their demands had passed around 50 years and several new states were created within country, but  Bodoland demand was not been created so far. He said that early creation of Bodoland state would be the last aspiration of the Bodos and indigenous peoples in the region, otherwise more vigorous movement is compelling in today's era. 

Dhiren Boro, president of NDFB ( P ) has urged the centre to create separate state of the to meet good governance and healthy development on the northern part of Brahmaputra. He also alleged that govt has not been showing good gesture while solution of the Bodo issues as his organisation has come to the main  stream in 2005, but no strong progress was met till today, Boro added. 

Let Cleanliness be next to Godliness

25 Mar 2018 - 5:14pm | Nikhil Mundra

In order to accelerate the effort of the Swachh Bharat Mission- Gramin, a State wide Campaign titled " Mission Sambhav" has been planned in all the 33 districts to reach out more than 1 lakh families without toilet on a single day for toilet construction, starting with Pit Digging  on 26. 03. 2018.

Addressing a Press Conference, Nabal Kamal Das,Member Secretary, DWSC cum Executive Engineer, PHE,Hojai said,"Similarly following the state protocol, Department of Water and Sanitary Committee, Hojai have targeted 5,500 IHHL to be completed in 10days, wherein targetting pit digging in a single day through Sharmdaan in all the 5500 families, the mission will start from Krishipam Nigam,Borhwar,GP under Jamnamukh Constituency."

He further said," In total 5,500 IHHL in Hojai district 10% i.e 550 IHHL will be directly completed by the benificaries and rest IHHL will be completed with help of NGO' s. For this rupees 12,000 per IHHL has been estimated, where the benificaries will get the fund directly in their bank account."

"To make the mission successful all the line departments, paramilitary forces, police
department,education institutions, etc are requested to come forward for Shramdaan by pit digging  organising centrally at Krishipam Nigam, Borhwar GP.",he added.