Usha Dewani Das

  • 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 Gunaje...
    Usha Dewaniposted 3 years 8 months agoread more
  • 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. With every aspect of Apatani life deeply connected to th...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 4 months agoread more
  • 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 under tea cultivation--more than 52% ...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 5 months agoread more
  • “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 24 Parganas. Cyclone Aila that came in 2009 caused extensive damage in large parts of Indi...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 7 months agoread more
  • 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...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 9 months agoread more
  • "Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase". - Martin Luther King, Jr. Centuries ago, this faith in the unknown might have inspired the elders in Sikkim to worship their springs. What it would yield was perhaps unfathomed then, but today it surely is evident. ...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 10 months agoread more
  • There are about 227 lakes and wetlands in Sikkim, many of which are revered by the people as holy. While Gurudongmar and Keopchari are popular with the tourists, Tsomgo lake at an altitude of 12,400 ft above sea level, is perhaps Sikkim's most visited tourist spot. Tsomgo, located about 35 km f...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 10 months agoread more
  • 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 generat...
    Usha Dewaniposted 4 years 12 months agoread more
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.

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. While many also regard the river as nature’s playground with shifting courses and meandering channels defining its very character, most would agree that the river in full spate is fierce, to say the least. 

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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.

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. With every aspect of Apatani life deeply connected to the sacredness of their landscape, the traditions and systems of their everyday life and livelihoods carry great lessons on sustainable natural resource management.

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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.

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 under tea cultivation--more than 52% of India's total tea area.

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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.

“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 24 Parganas. Cyclone Aila that came in 2009 caused extensive damage in large parts of India and Bangladesh, killing scores of people

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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.

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.

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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.

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

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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.

There are about 227 lakes and wetlands in Sikkim, many of which are revered by the people as holy. While Gurudongmar and Keopchari are popular with the tourists, Tsomgo lake at an altitude of 12,400 ft above sea level, is perhaps Sikkim's most visited tourist spot. 

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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.

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. Declining flow and contamination of aquifers means less water for everyone just as demand for water is on the rise. Flow is decreasing due to ecological degradation and possibly a changing a climate.

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