3-day Brahmaputra knowledge exchange program begins
| Staff REPORTER |
ITANAGAR, Nov 20: Minister for WRD, Geology & Mining Kamlung Mossang has compared the Brahmaputra river with a milk-giving cow, saying the mighty river has immense potential which needed to be harnessed sustainably.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of three-day Brahmaputra Knowledge Exchange Program organized by SaciWATERs in a city hotel here this evening, Mossang said, “Brahmaputra is like milk giving cow. We need to protect it and harness its resources in a sustainable manner.”
The Minister further said there should be equitable distribution of water resources among the stakeholders – be it China, India, Bhutan or Bangladesh. He also said that there is urgent need to protect environment and forest which is the catchment area for water resources.
“Arunachal Pradesh is also contributing much water volume to the Brahmaputra. Being in upper basin, our state occupies a very prominent place in policy framework. We need to frame holistic policies by involving all the stakeholders to safeguard the catchment area”, he said.
The Minister revealed that underground water level is also degrading day by day where water table is found from 10 to 15 meters for drinking purposes which earlier used to be only five meters below.
Describing the river basin as rich and hotspot in biodiversity, he said that there is degradation and loss of land in the river basin due to repeated floods, as a result of which the local communities are resorting to jhum cultivation and conflict arises because of occupation of reserve forest and national parks.
“The protection of the land will not only benefit the lands but also help in protecting reserve forest and national parks. For that, alternative livelihood has to be given to the community,” Mossang said.
PCCF Dr Rabindra Kumar stressed that there should be more dialogues on Brahmaputra basin among the stakeholders so that mutual understanding of water sharing emerges among the four countries – China, India, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
He further informed that the river basin, being one of the largest water flows in the world with high water turbulent, shares 1530 km in China, 1130 km in India and 240 km in Bangladesh with a total of 2900 km.
The PCCF also said there is need to constitute Joint River Commission to draft common policies where more dialogues required for that, in days to come, adding the river basin has enough potential for harnessing hydropower, irrigation, drinking water etc.
“Protection and preservation of data is required with China while sharing water. Sharing data will also safeguard the life and properties of the people living in the downstream”, he said.
Former Lok Sabha MP and State BJP president Tapir Gao said: do concentrate more on research works so that the bilateral talks can be held between China and India as per the findings and result of the research works.
While pressuring on urgent need of protection of environment to save water, Gao also called upon the organizer to integrate environment and forest in their research works.
Safa Fanaian, research fellow, SaciWATERs informed that the journey of trans-boundary water sharing started in 2013 between India and Bangladesh. Stating that there is communication gap between the community and the government, she said there is urgent need to fill up the gap to establish the issue with involvement of all the stakeholders right from local community to government level.
“We are there to involve all the sections including policy makers, politicians, and civil society and increase the numbers of stakeholders so that trans-boundary documents and policies evolve from the understanding”, she added.
Many experts including from WRD, CWC, Department of Environment & Forest, civil society, IIT and other institutes from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are participating in the Brahmaputra Knowledge Exchange Programme, Transnational Policy Dialogue for Improved Water Governance of the Brahmaputra River.