Strategic policy vital to tap northeast resources: Experts

August 23rd, 2011 - 6:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, Aug 23 (IANS) A National Brahmaputra Basin Authority, integrated water resources management and a biodiversity conservation plan… these were among the recommendations by experts at a conference on tapping the vast resources of northeast India.

Scientists, experts and technologists gathered at the three-day national summit on water, energy and biodiversity that ended here Tuesday to discuss a comprehensive plan on tapping the northeast’s resources keeping in mind its ethnic diversity and strategic location.

The summit was jointly organised by the Institution of Engineers (India), the Roorkee- based National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), the Tripura government and different national and regional institutes.

The region has enormous potentials of untapped water, hydropower and natural gas resources. It also has strategic importance, sharing international borders with four countries — China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan, the experts said.

“Comprehensive and strategic policy planning, development and management of these resources are extremely vital. The central and state governments must be collaborative in view of the region’s location and ethnic diversity among the people,” said Institution of Engineers (India) Tripura centre chief Ramen Dasgupta, referring to the recommendations.

The summit also recommended the establishment of a National Brahmaputra Basin Authority with an effective state authority, integrated water resources management fulfilling the various sectoral demands, management of water resources and the creation of a centre of excellence for the region on “renewal and non-conventional energy”.

“Water conservation projects should be considered as projects of national importance and these projects should get necessary funding support from the central government,” the summit document stated.

Addressing the conference, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar added that northeast India had the potential to generate about 60,000 MW of hydropower.

“The region also has abundant resources of coal, oil and gas for thermal power generation.”

“The central government’s sectarian approach towards the northeastern region is the main reasons for these rich resources not being exploited,” Sarkar added.

“The region is rich in biodiversity. Proper biodiversity conservation plan with creation of marketing avenues should be promoted without any further delay.”

A ‘knowledge hub’ for promotion and education of biodiversity has to be exclusively created for the northeast region, the chief minister said.

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