Major Environmental Problems in the North Eastern India: Possible Legal and Non-Legal Solutions

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MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS IN THE NORTH EASTERN INDIA: POSSIBLE LEGAL AND NON-LEGAL SOLUTIONS

The North-Eastern India is the land of rising sun in the sub-continent. Assam and other seven sisters including Sikkim consist the whole landmass of the North-Eastern India. The green belt of India, so called land of forest and tribals, the entire north-east region is rich in its natural resources-oil, natural gas, minerals and most importantly valuable forests. The worlds largest river Island 'Majuli' is situated in the heart of the river Brahmaputra. The Kaziranga National Park in the Jorhat district of Assam is the home for the world famous one-homed rhinoceros. The place of highest rainfall in the world "Mousimam" is situated in Meghalaya.

Assam produces the largest share of tea that's nearly 53% of the all India production. Besides Assam; Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh & Tripura also contributing to the tea production, though output from these states is yet to gain momentum.

The north eastern region which was almost an environmental friendly region with maximum rainfall every year, green trees and green pasteur everywhere is non longer a tourist destination. Though the North-East is an industrially backward region, the existing industries, deforestation and flood are causing serious problem to the environment in the region.

The major environmental problems can be summarised as follows: 1. Deforestation
2. Flood
3. Industrial activities
a. Coal mining operation
b. Crude oil exploration
c. Petroleum refinery
d. Fertilizer industries
e. Paper industries
f. Cement industries
4. Automobile Exhaust Emission
5. Water quality of river Brahmaputra

1. Deforestation: Inspite of the existence of several forest laws and regulation the forest of North-East is decaying. It is now an industry. The main share holder of the 'deforestation' industries is the Department of Forest having 40% share and the militant and surrendered militants share 60% of it. The ramp at felling of trees in Bodoland areas by the Bodomilitants, in Karbi Anglog by Karbi-militant groups and in other parts of Assam and North East reduce the forest cover below 25% which was earlier more than standard requirement of33%.

The killing of rhinoceros for their horn and of elephants for their ivory by the pouchers with the help of greedy forest officials is a common phenomenon which is a great threat to he existence of endangered rhinoceros in Assam.

2. Flood: Almost entire Assam get submerged twice or thrice yearly due to flood resulting loss of life and property. Flood causes severe damage to ecology, environment. Hundreds of wild animal including deers and rhinoceros' calves living in the Kaziranga National Park loss their lives in the stream of Brahmaputra every year due to flood. The river island 'Majuli' is loosing several hectares of land to the water of Brahmaputra every year, thus the very existence of the island is under threat.The major cities and town including Guwahati get submerged during flood and the municipal and other waste spread over the land causing several health hazards.

Though flood is considered as natural calamity it has serious negative impact in economic development in the region. So, flood in Assam should be considered as a national problem and the Govt. of India should take initiative for controlling flood by constructing hydel / irrigation project / dams on the tributaries which is the best possible solution.

3. Industrial Activities:
a. Coal mining Operations: Excavation of Coal by Open Cast Mining through mechanised process is in progress at two places (at Tiklok and the other one is at Ledo- Tirap) in Upper Assam areas. In the open mining for extraction of coal, the industry is at first removing the top soil, valuable trees vegetation etc. and the top soil cutting from the upper layer of the hillock above the coal seam are dumped in nearby areas. By doing so, a barren artificial hillock...
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