Cong leader seeks Prez intervention in river pollution issue

The leader of opposition in the Assam assembly, Debabrata Saikia, today wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, urging him to take initiatives to ensure that China refrains from activities which pose a threat to the river Brahmaputra.

The Congress leader, in a letter sent to the President and made available to the media here, also requested him to make sure that the provisions of the Naga Framework Agreement do not infringe upon the overall interests of Assam or any other state.

Saikia pointed out that the waters of the Brahmaputra, the lifeline of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, have been unfit for use for over a month, reportedly due to some construction activities undertaken by China in the river's upper reaches in Tibet.

"The tests carried out at IIT- Guwahati, on the samples collected from the downstream areas adjoining Guwahati, have revealed the presence of turbidity, iron and ammonia far beyond the permissible limits," he claimed.

More tests have been carried out in other laboratories, the results of which have not arrived yet, he said, adding that it was already clear that there exists a serious threat to the lives of countless people.

The contamination of the Brahmaputra has the potential of causing a major ecological disaster, and urgent remedial steps are required to prevent an eventuality, he added.

"The need of the hour is for a diplomatic team, accompanied by river experts from the North East and other parts of the country, to interact with counterparts from China without further delay and work out a solution before the fate of the Brahmaputra is sealed," Saikia added.

The Congress leader has also expressed concern over the Naga Framework Agreement, signed on August 3, 2015, between the central government and Naga militant outfits.

Despite repeated requests for making the pact public to the stakeholders in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, the details have been kept under wraps, he alleged.

This reticence on part of the Centre has fuelled misgivings among the people of these states, Saikia said.

"The 'Greater Nagalim' proposed by the Naga leadership, and apparently ratified under the Naga Framework Agreement, has traditionally included large tracts of territory belonging to Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh," he explained.

The pact should not be implemented without addressing the concerns of the stakeholders, the leader of the opposition said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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