Usha Dewani Das

Usha Dewani Das
Majuli: A hungry river and a succumbing island
Erosion in Majuli, a large island on the Brahmaputra, has left scores of people bereft of livelihoods and hope. While the government has spent crores on anti-erosion measures, it hasn't helped much.
Posted on 24 Sep, 2016 08:30 PM

Brahmaputra is the highest siltation-carrying river in the world, and controlling erosion is not easy. Because of its characteristics, it does not have a parallel with any other river in the world. Mythologically also, the Brahmaputra has always been a disturbed river, highly meandering, says Gunajeet Kashyap (ACS), Election Officer, Majuli.

A boatman looks at the vast and furious Brahmaputra
Lessons on ecology from the Apatani tribe in Ziro Valley
The Apatani tribe in Arunachal Pradesh is known for its paddy cum fish agriculture. They practice this as well as other sustainable water management techniques that allow them to coexist and thrive.
Posted on 17 Jan, 2016 03:42 PM

Ziro Valley, which figures in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as a unique cultural landscape, sits at a height of 5600 feet in Arunachal Pradesh. It is inhabited by the Apatani tribe who are completely confined to the valley.

Rice fields at Ziro valley with sacred groves in the backdrop
Tea trouble brewing in Assam
Decreasing rainfall in Assam is causing a decline in tea yield, but the crop itself is somewhat adapting to the impacts of climate change, as are tea growers.
Posted on 05 Dec, 2015 10:31 PM

Assam, which lies on either side of the Brahmaputra River and borders Bangladesh and Myanmar, is the world's largest tea-growing region (Wikipedia). According to estimates by the Tea Board of India in 2007, the state has 3.11 lakh hectares of area u

Women plucking tea leaves at a garden in Golaghat
After Cyclone Aila, farming nurtures food, faith in Sunderbans
In 2009, Cyclone Aila caused significant damage to livelihoods in the Sunderbans. While saline soil is subversive to agriculture in the area, integrated farming gives many the courage to start afresh.
Posted on 14 Oct, 2015 09:53 PM

“Another flood like Aila should never happen again, but if it does, we have the knowledge to start working on our soil again”, remarks Binota Munda of Nebukhali village in Hingalganj block, North

Seed-banks are an effective instrument to preserve local varieties and keep people together
Catching rain in the land of "too much water"
Rainwater harvesting in a school in Jorhat, Assam helps address water quality issues, improves attendance and serves as an example for others in the area to fight arsenic and fluoride contamination.
Posted on 23 Aug, 2015 08:16 PM

Even in the remotest village of Assam, you would often find one saying ‘paanir nisina daam’ (meaning as cheap as water) or ‘paanir nisina xorol’ (as simple as water) over a good bargain or an easy task. Water is, almost always, associated with simplicity and abundance.

But those were the good old days.

Children drinking rainwater collected in tanks at Melamati Government Junior Basic School, Jorhat (Assam).
The sacred springs of Sikkim
Devithans are shrouded in rituals and myths but serve as an important institution to preserve springs. While religious sentiments sometimes get in the way, development around them continues.
Posted on 16 Jul, 2015 09:31 AM

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase". - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Devithan at Kolbung village, Namthang
Sikkim conserves its Tsomgo lake
Residents who live near the lake, representatives from the Taxi Drivers’ & Shopkeepers' Association, Tourism Department, and the Police Department have worked together towards a common goal.
Posted on 09 Jul, 2015 11:10 AM

There are about 227 lakes and wetlands in Sikkim, many of which are revered by the people as holy.

Tourists at Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim
First Sikkim, now Meghalaya springs hope!
6000 villages in Meghalaya depend on springs and spring-fed rivers for household water needs. Their drying up threatens water security and future growth. Now, there is some hope. Posted on 29 May, 2015 07:26 PM

Meghalaya boasts one of the rainiest places on the planet at Cherrapunjee, receiving over 11,000 mm of annual rainfall. Yet, despite all the rain, water availability remains a problem for many rural and urban communities across the State. Natural springs that have provided drinking water for generations are in crisis.

Green but water-scarce