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Chandubi lake: formed from an earthquake, now a biodiversity hotspot

Chandubi lake is located at the foot of Garo hills surrounded by Assam and Meghalaya. It is a natural lake located in the Kamrup district

By nayanikaphukan
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chandubi lake in kamrup district of assam history and significance

Chandubi lake is located at the foot of Garo hills surrounded by Assam and Meghalaya. It is a natural lake located in the Kamrup district, Assam and is at a distance of 40 km from the city of Guwahati. The whole area is surrounded by beautiful villages, district tea plantations and dense forest and is a tourist attraction. One interesting fact about the lake is that it was formed as a result of an earthquake that occurred in Assam in 1897. 

Since its formation, it has become the habitat of various flora and fauna. It is home to dozens of fish species including some critically endangered species such as Nandhanl and ornamental fish such as Phutiki-puthi. The lake also attracts migratory birds. The lake is also the home to Gangetic river dolphins since the lake has a connecting waste channel to Kulsi, a tributary of the Brahmaputra.

Shrinking of the lake

Shrinking of the lake chandubi

According to a study done by the Assam Remote Sensing Application Centre (ARSAC), the water-spread area of Chandubi lake or wetland was 481.19 hectares in 1954, but it was only 392.61 hectares in 1967-68. It further shrank to 203.20 hectares in 1997, and by 2007, it had shrunk to 186.52 hectares, or nearly 40% less than it had been fifty years earlier.

Effects of mining

Chandubi lake has suffered some negative effects as a result of illegal sand mining in the Khasi river. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in demand for sand from the Khasi, and the rampant mining has resulted in an excessive amount of riverbed draining. As a result, the Kulsi river's water level has significantly decreased, and now, instead of water flowing from the river into Chandubi lake as it normally would, the opposite is taking place. Water from the Chandubi, which is already receding, is flowing into the Kulsi river through the connecting channel.

chandubi lake ramsar site proposal

Proposal to designate it as a Ramsar site

The state government has been asked by researchers to submit a proposal to the Central government asking for Chandubi Lake in Assam to be designated as a Ramsar site.

Also Read: How are ‘Ramsar sites’ important to conserving wetlands?

According to a study conducted jointly by Moharana Choudhury, an independent researcher based in Guwahati, and Deepak Kumar, a staff member of the United Nations Development Programme, the Chandubi wetland has a significant potential of being named a Ramsar site for wetlands of international importance. Its annual economic value is estimated to be between $49 and $24,390 per hectare.

Every January the Chandubi festival is held with the aim to promote the rich biodiversity and ecology in the region. The festival attracts tourists and showcases traditional sports, ethnic foods, cultural programmes, ethnic crafts and much more.

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