- The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Assam government to declare the area around Deepor Beel — a major wetland on the western edge of Guwahati — an eco-sensitive zone.
- Deepor Beel is an ‘Important Bird Area’ and a Ramsar Site, with a reserve forest nearby.
- Eco-sensitive zone entails declaring up to 10 km around a protected area a buffer zone and restricting industrial and other human activities.
- The NGT, in its order on August 19, also directed the government to remove existing encroachment on the wetland, take steps to prohibit any further encroachment and manage a municipal solid waste dumping ground inside Deepor Beel’s system.
- The order, based on a petition by environment activist Rohit Choudhury, has also sought an end to the “land utilisation character for a rail track alignment through three elephant corridors – Segunbari, Mikirpara and Matia”. The track runs between the southern edge of Deepor Beel and the reserve forest.