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Govt plans ‘lab on boat’ for analysing Brahmaputra river

The first laboratory under the Bramhaputra Biodiversity Biology Boat (B4) initiative will cover Pasighat, Dibrugarh, Neemati, Tejpur and Guwahati in Assam.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2017 10:12 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
Malavika Vyawahare
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Brahmaputra river,Bramhaputra Biodiversity Biology Boat,Assam
The nearly 3,800 kms long river, one of the longest in the world, traverses three countries to empty itself in the Bay of Bengal.(Reuters File Photo)

Very soon locals from northeastern states, which host the Brahmaputra and its tributaries, will be able to get onboard boats and look under microscopes to discover the biodiversity of their native lands. The Department of Biotechnology announced 3 missions focussing on the northeast India on Wednesday, including the B4, which is centred on the Brahmaputra’s biodiversity and biology.

“Our prime minister from the first day has a special commitment to the development of the north east,” Harsh Vardhan said at the launch adding that the Department of Biotechnology allots 10% of its budget every year for projects in the north east.

The Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region has promised DBT additional funding of about 30-40 crores to strengthen activities in the region this year.

The Phyto-Pharma Plant Mission, with an allocation of Rs 50 crore aims at conservation of endangered and threatened endemic medicinal plants, and discovery of new botanical drugs for unmet medical needs.

The government is also making a big push for the Foldscope, which has been dubbed the world’s cheapest microscope, costing only USD 1. Harsh Vardhan described the Foldscope as “revolutionary” and said that the ministry of science and technology would make a big push for its adoption in schools.

The ministry of science and technology who also handles the charge of the environment ministry reiterated that the government had taken no stand on the issue of introduction of GM Mustard in the country. After India’s apex biosafety regulator approved its commercial release in May the decision lay with the environment minister.

“GM Mustard is a food, it is not something you can introduce in a hurry,” Harsh Vardhan said, calling it a “sensitive issue.”

First Published: Sep 20, 2017 22:56 IST