Ecological degradation of Deepor Beel, a freshwater lake of international importance on the outskirts of Guwahati, has turned out to be a major electoral issue for hundreds of fishermen and farmers dependent on the wetland.
Spread over an area of 40.1 sq km, the lake, which is listed in the Ramsar Convention, supports livelihood of over 1,200 families living in 12 villages around it.
Fishermen complain that the fish output has become unpredictable over the last few years after elephants, which cleared the waterbody by feeding on the lake vegetation, stopped visiting it because of the presence of a railway line on the southern boundary of the wetland.
“Elephants from the adjoining Rani and Garbhanga Reserve have a tough task in coming to the beel (waterbody) now because of the railway tracks. Many of them get injured and even die while crossing it,” Purna Ram Das, president of the Deepor Beel Paanchpada cooperative society, said.
Full report here New Indian Express