New Delhi, March 6: Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) attended the Conference on Draft North-East Water Management Authority Bill 2020 in New Delhi today.
The Chief Minister in his address cited heavy monsoon as the reason for the erosion of the river basins in both Teesta and Rangit leading to loss of life and properties. Thus, the establishment of the North-East Water Management Authority (NEWMA) would be beneficial regarding this issue in the state, bringing relief to the people. The Chief Minister mentioned that the state government is hopeful that NEWMA will look into it so that the water resources can be used for revenue generation.
Sikkim being the youngest member of the North-East region, the Chief Minister talked about the geographical attributes and flora & fauna of the state. Talking of Sikkim as a biodiversity hotspot of the region, water conservation and management is an important factor for keeping it intact. He mentioned the two major rivers of the state Teesta and Rangit which have been affected by Global Warming. These two rivers are glacier-fed and have been facing problems due to the melting of the glaciers resulting in the irregular flow of water for irrigation, hydropower production, drinking water, etc. As a result, the people of Sikkim are facing difficulties. Citing this, the Chief Minister suggested incorporating the provision of conservation of glaciers, education, and awareness to the local communities and maintenance of traditional practices in the Bill.
Talking about the mountainous terrain of the state, the Chief Minister mentioned that the flow of the water is mainly towards the southern region due to which the government had to build catchment areas for perennial regions. The Chief Minister emphasized the importance of including a provision regarding the development of catchment areas in the region as a perennial source of water during dry seasons. He also spoke on the importance of including a provision concerning the protection and conservation of drying springs in the region and talked about adopting these methods in the state.
The Chief Minister also mentioned the conservation of high altitude lakes and the development of artificial lakes to conserve rainwater to be incorporated in the Bill. He further stressed the conservation of the Himalayan region and biodiversity as a long term solution for water supply due to the northeast region falling under the Eastern Himalayas which is a major source of water for plain areas as well. He also requested the social organisations, local traditional bodies, and the traditional practitioners to be made major stakeholders in the proposed Bill.
The Chief Minister informed the successful implementation of Dhara Vikas Yojana for the revival of dying springs and water bodies in the state. He said that this practice has been successful to a large extent and should be included in the proposed Bill. He also suggested the formation of a scientific advisory body that will advise the authority. In conclusion, the Chief Minister expressed his gratitude to the Union Minister for his invitation to attend the conference.