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Power project, dam threaten Arunachal tigers who are called ‘elder brothers’ by local tribals

Snippets from the vibrant Northeast that capture politics, culture, society and more in the eight states.

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New Delhi: A proposed power project and a dam in Arunachal Pradesh’s Dibang Valley can threaten its “unique and genetically diverse” lineage of tigers. 

According to the Status of Tigers, Co-predators, and Prey in India report (2018), prepared by All India Tiger Census and released earlier this week, there are 29 big cats in the state’s Dibang-Kamlang-Namdapha block.

But experts fear that a 3,097-MW Etalin Hydropower Project and the Dibang Multipurpose Dam will impact both tigers and their prey. While the power project will impact 1,150.08 hectares, the dam will affect 4,577.84 hectares of unclassified state forests and community lands.

Conservation of tigers in the Dibang Valley holds importance, said the report, because the big cats are considered ‘elder brothers’ by its Idu Mishmi community.   

Anoko Mega, a member of the Arunachal Pradesh Wildlife Advisory Board, has been quoted as saying, “If the environment ministry really considers the tiger to be an important species, it will not consider projects, which will be disastrous for the tiger habitat here.

“If at all a tiger reserve is declared here, the boundary should be demarcated after consulting local people so that there is no impact on human habitation.”

The Idu Mishmi Cultural & Literary Society had also written to the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the forest ministry earlier, saying, “Based on years of empirical research on ecological and social aspects of tigers in Dibang Valley, we strongly believe that the right strategy for Dibang tigers would be to develop a new kind of tiger reserve that is built not with fences and armed patrol guards, but around a cultural model, a culture, which has so far proven to be effective in saving the tiger.”

Also read: Assam man sails 6 km daily to provide banking services to villages cut-off by floods

Nagaland’s youngest district gets its first DC, SP

The 12th and the youngest district of Nagaland, called Noklak, got its first deputy commissioner (DC) and superintendent of police (SP) this week. Noklak was declared a district on 21 December 2017.

While Reny Wilfred has been appointed as its DC, Pritpal Kaur Patra is the new SP. Soyimna Aier will be appointed as the district’s deputy inspector general of police.

The chief secretary of Nagaland, in a notification, has also said that the inter-district boundaries of Noklak will be interim in nature. Its final borders will depend on the amicable settlement of claims made by villages concerned, through customary means. The inter-district boundaries may be altered to include or exclude villages, said the notification. 

‘Happy hypoxia’ in Covid-19 patients in Assam

Doctors in Assam are faced with a new complication known as ‘happy hypoxia’ in Covid-19 patients. 

It is a condition in which a person’s oxygen levels become so low that she or he could be fainting or experiencing organ failure. But the person seems well, until eventually she or he collapses. The condition has been called a biology-defying phenomenon by scientists across the world.

Most of the fatalities occurring due to happy hypoxia in Assam were among asymptomatic Covid-19 patients.

A doctor at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital has been quoted as saying, “…undetected hypoxia appears to be one of the specialties of coronavirus. Unless doctors are looking out for it, the patient appears quite normal in many ways until the cardiac failure occurs.”

Offered ‘suggestion’ to include NE in national anthem

Former Tripura Congress chief and royal scion Pradyot Deb Barman lashed out at local media Friday for misinterpreting his comments on the national anthem. 

Barman had, on 30 July, commented on Facebook that the national anthem can be “modified to include parts of Northeast”. Soon, there were reports saying that he was trying to create “artificial controversies” with the autonomous district council elections (ADC) likely to take place in the state soon.  

Barman, who is also the chairman of The Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance, released a video on Facebook Friday, saying that his suggestion was “depicted in a certain picture” leading to a “staged outrage” among a certain section of the media. 

In the clip, Barman said: “I just want the national anthem to include one part of the Northeast to symbolise that we are all Indians. What has this got to do with the ADC elections?”

He goes on to add, “If one word is included which makes a Northeasterner feel that he is a part of India in the national anthem, what’s the harm? It’s a suggestion… you don’t like it, no problem.”

Also read: Epidemiologist turns Maruti Alto into ambulance to trace Covid contacts in Arunachal district


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