Book chronicles threat to mangroves

Inauguration of Sunderban Wetlands in Kolkata Bookfair 2008 is a prelude to the predicament of the mangrove treasure trove, threatened by the phenomena of global warming. Mr Kiranmoy Nanda, fishery minister of West Bengal, Mr Tushar Kanjilal and other dignitaries attended the inaugural ceremony. The price tag for Sunderban Wetlands is Rs 500 and is available at the Benfish store in the fair. Written by Dr Madhumita Mukherjee, joint secretary of the fisheries department, government of West Bengal, the book highlights the recent changes in the biodiversity of Sunderbans and its impact on the people living there. Dr Mukherjee said that the ecological changes in the region have affected the lives of the animals and human beings. She also said that efforts are being made to ensure that people of Sunderbans can take benefit of alternative livelihood based on the results of scientific research. Mr Tushar Kanjilal, who has spent 40 years in Sunderbans, expressed his concern on the recent changes the region. In his speech, Mr Kanjilal spoke of the "environmental refugees' in Sunderbans, people who were compelled to migrate as the sea has swallowed their home. He said that the complete destruction of forests in 54 out of 102 islands in the Sunderban has taken its toll as two islands has already been wiped off. While speaking of the region, Mr Kiranmoy Nanda said: "The Sunderbans is like our mother.' He said that the government is making efforts to ensure protection and optimum utilisation of natural resources in the area. He said that filled canals are being restructured and measures are taken to protect the mangrove. He also said that for the weed collectors in Sunderbans, the government is looking for alternative source of living that will also connect them with the wetlands. Mr Nanda is hopeful that the upcoming 40000 sweet water bodies in Sunderbans, in addition to the existing 33000 will improve the situation. All the speakers were of opinion that the book is a storehouse of information that will help all those want to delve into the unknown facets of Sunderbans.