State of Environment Report of Tripura in the year of 2002

  1.0 Land and Soil

  •  Land Use

Urban Land Use Plans in the State suffers from lack of appropriate land use map, showing contour line. It is therefore recommended that:

·        Topographical map showing contour lines be prepared for the capital city of Agartala and all district head quarters, followed by zoning system.

·        All drainage schemes may be based on such topographical maps to utilize natural gradient and to avoid periodic flooding due to faulty, sectoral planning.

·        The Town and Country Planning Department may either entrust the work to the Geological Survey of India, Tripura State Centre or to National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization with head quarters at Calcutta.

·        The State lacks a Wetland Policy, which has led to conversion of prime wetlands for non- wetland purposes. It is therefore recommended to ban all conversion of wetlands of the size of five cottah or above, (man-made or natural), which are useful for drainage, ground water recharging, pisciculture, fire fighting, microclimate – stability, bathing and other purposes.

  • Soil Conservation

The limitation of current land use for productive agriculture is reflected in medium to severe erosion of land  largely attributed to water and shifting cultivation. Soil conservation programme in the State should be focussed on:

·        Major thrust should be given for effective implementation of Watershed Development project in Shifting Cultivation Area. Available data shows that by end of 2001 only 50% of targeted area have been covered, with completion date being fixed at 31 March 2002.

·        More Strategic planning and timely release of fund along with a monitoring system for progress in field based work is essential for soil conservation.

·        A cartographic support system is recommended for effective planning to conserve the vital resources, including use of Remote Sensing data.

·        Soil conservation in upper catchment area is urgently needed.


2.0 Forests

  The report of the State Forest Department reveal-alarming rise of incidence of unauthorized felling in State forest. The other disturbing issue relates to encroachment into forestland. Besides, at least in 20% of forest are affected by forest fire and nearly 1.2 million cattle use forest for grazing. In order to prevent serious loss of forest resource, the following recommendations are made:

·        To implement effective forest protection measure, more extensive Joint Forest management (JFM) strategy should be adopted with a notion of benefit sharing.

Special task force should be created to stop forest produces being smuggled to Bangladesh.

·        Effective communication system should be established to detect and prevent forest fire. Forest department personnel should be provided with fire fighting training and equipment. In areas managed by JFM, members of forest protection committees should be given incentives to combat forest fire.

·        A plan to gradually sterilize unproductive cattle and introduce better breed with lesser number of cattle head should be initiated by Animal Husbandry Department in collaboration with Forest Department to control grazing in forest land.


3.0 Biodiversity

The State level Biodiversity assessment shows rich assemblage of species with significant genetic diversity in agricultural crops including paddy. The action plan for conservation of biodiversity should focus on:

·        Habitat Conservation of rare and endangered flora.

·        Systematic development of medicinal plant garden in each of four districts of Tripura.

·        On farm conservation of major rice varieties in Government Agricultural Farms, in collaboration with Regional ICAR centre, to propagate indigenous rice varieties through selective breeding: Millet, Maize, Sesame, Pulses of indigenous varieties should also be conserved through on farm programme.

·        Of the vegetable and fibre crops, genetic diversity in brinjal, chillies, cucurbits, sweet potatoes, plants of Aracaceae, Diascoraceae, cotton, jute and mesta should be equally conserved through a master plan of State Government, specially in State Agricultural Farms.

·        Habitat of identified Rare, Endangered and Vulnerable species of fishes should be protected along with a ban on catching such species (identified by Zoological Survey of India) through State level law.

·        Legal measures to notify all the four sanctuaries (covering 6% of the geographical area) should be completed as required U/S 26(A) of Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972, for effective management.


4.0 Agriculture

Considering extensive use of High Yielding Varieties and trend of homogenizing agriculture, promotion of indigenous varieties of crops through seed bank is deemed essential. It is recommended that:

·        A new “seed policy” to collect and preserve seeds of major indigenous varieties of crops is called for. The method of on-farm conservation and setting up of regional seed bank should be given priority. Deputy Director in-charge of Seed related issues in the State Agriculture Department may be entrusted to draw a plan with appropriate financial support for implementation during 10th Five Year Plan onward.

·        In view of lack of reliable data on use of pesticides sold through private enterprises, the State Agriculture Department should make it mandatory for such dealers to file annual returns. Such returns may provide data both on quantity and quality of pesticides used in the State and help to monitor extent of use of banned pesticides or undesirable persistant organic pollutant (POP’S). 

·        Fisheries potential of the State needs an in depth study, both in terms of Capture and Culture fisheries, along with identification of more potential fishing areas, identification of inland fisheries development zone and expansion of co-operative fisheries societies movement.


5.0 Energy

In view of increasing awareness about value of genetic resources for sustainable development, the promotion of Hydel power project (which often leads to submergence of prime forest) should be gradually shifted to other energy sources. It is recommended that:

·        Major power generation be based on gas fired power plant, increasing the current level of 78% to at least 90% and above. The potential of use of natural gas fired plant in the field of generation of electricity being well established a time bound master plan is essential.

·        Stand-alone, wood based biomass, Gasifier Power Plant should be extensively promoted in remote areas. Such project can be linked up with participatory energy plantation, for units up to 500 KW.

·        A strict monitoring for implementation of other projects involving renewable energy is recommended to ensure targeted achievement.


6.0 Transport

In view of the land locked condition of the State and severe constraints in transport sector, more transport facilities are needed. But keeping in view the environmental impact, following recommendations are made:

·        No Railway Project through prime forest and land-slip prone zone should be allowed without a detailed Environment Impact Assessment study and Environment Management Plan.

·        Whenever other alternative route can be utilized, State Government should insist of realigning project in order to save ecologically fragile zone.

·        A detailed feasibility study for development of intra state road communication, along with EIA and EMP, should be undertaken; in view of only 20% of present road network being black topped, steps should be taken to convert the road -network into an all weather category.

·        An extensive infrastructure development project starting with road network may help to boost the economy by enabling biological produces to reach major markets in shortest possible time.

7.0 Tourism

In view of thrust on several tourism development projects in future, following recommendations are made:

·        Tourism Development Master Plan should focus on the Eco tourism concept, especially in Forest, Lakes and Cultural Heritage Sites.

·        Group tourism should be promoted with adequate infrastructure support. All tourist spots authority should have a plan for proper disposal of solid waste and wastewater. A carefully drawn location-specific plan is essential to achieve such objectives.

·        Private investment in Tourism sector may be encouraged but it should be within the ambit of Principles of Eco tourism.

8.0 People

The population profile of Tripura shows a total of 19 tribal groups, who were provided needed support since 5th Five-Year Plan (before 1980). However, considering the dependency of these “ecosystem people” on Natural Resources, the following recommendations are made:

·        Detailed information on investment for Agriculture, Health, Nutrition, Education, Soil Conservation, Rehabilitation of Jhumia, Development of Handicraft etc. along with year wise achievement figures, may be generated. This is to assess the impact of investment on Indigenous Peoples’ development and expected decline on dependency on Natural Resources.

·        In view of Population-Poverty-Pollution linkages, programmes of poverty alleviation need to be critically assessed and implemented with a rigor.

 9.0 Health

In view of the lack of adequate data on Public Health, the following recommendations are made:

·        All Private clinics and Nursing Homes may be made to submit an annual return of patients admitted, categories of diseases, treated including communicable diseases, in a given format. Such data can be combined with the data from Government Health Centre / Hospitals by Health Statistical Unit of State Health Department.

·      Data on occupational health hazards being lacking, a system of collecting and collating such data on an annual basis should be implemented in collaboration with Industries and Labour Departments.

·        Prevention of water borne diseases is recommended by improvement of drinking water quality. A wide spread mass education and awareness programme offering cheapest method of household level drinking water treatment is essential, to ensure potability of water.

·        The current figures for Doctors / Nurses / Midwives per 1000 population appear alarmingly low. Incentives to undertake such work from personnel of other state (Doctors) and extensive training and employment for Nurses and Midwives are considered vital for Health Care System in the State. Special funding support for improvement of Health Care System from the World Bank / Asian Development Bank may be sought as a part of Environment Improvement Programme for Sustainable Development.


10.0 Habitat

  ·      The ambitious plan for Integrated Development of small and medium town need to be based on appropriate land use map. Use of Remote Sensing data for proper planning is also recommended.

·        The Capital City development scheme also suffers from proper land use map, which is urgently needed. A realistic estimate of sector wise percentage of area occupied (Residential, Commercial, Institutional, Recreational, Road etc.) as on the end of 20th Century is also lacking, but urgently needed.

·        All drainage scheme and road improvement programme should be based on contour maps only.


11.0 Environmental Quality

 While environmental quality in the State appears largely within permissible limits, steps are to      be taken with regard to the specific areas mentioned bellow:

·        The air quality level during Summer shows higher concentration of SPM, RPM and NOx in 20% –25% of sampling sites. Regular monitoring of automobile emission and industrial emissions are to be made, especially in the Capital Township area.

·        River Water quality appears to contain bacterial load much above the permissible limit. The pollution can only be checked by providing adequate sanitation facilities in the human settlements along the river - course, to prevent pollution at source. Village level awareness campaign can be launched through educational institutional network by TSPCB.

·       A dangerous level of phenolic compound and oil and grease in the pond water in Capital City calls for strict vigilance over the units discharging such material, violating existing laws. A "Polluters Pay" principle should be adopted to clean up selected ponds and punitive action against polluting units are to be taken.

·        Identified Industrial Units (eg. Ramakrishna Engineering Works, Agartala, Dairy Unit at Indranagar) should be cautioned against discharge of effluent contributing to high level of BOD and fecal and total coliform bacteria. If not heeded, appropriate legal steps should be taken according to extant law.

·        The State Government should take steps to keep the members of the community aware about ill effects of high noise - level on human physiology including hearing capacity. This should be followed by taking stringent steps to control noise pollution at source by adopting laid down legal provisions of Government of India.

·        Considering the provision under notification issued for Management of Hazardous Chemicals, a special advisory and monitoring committee may be constituted to oversee implementation of the law in six identified areas in the State of Tripura, viz., Gas gathering station, Drug intermediaries, Unit Latex producing units, LPG bottling plants, Bottling plants for alcoholic beverages and Gas distributions pipelines.

·        Solid Waste Management system lack adequate infrastructural support and steps should be taken to draw a master plan for the Capital City and the district head quarters for proper quantification, segregation and disposal. Involvement of consultant and local NGO’s is recommended.

·       Currently no appropriate system exists for disposal of biomedical waste (29870 kg / year). Steps should be taken to strictly follow GOI notification on handling, quantification, segregation and disposal of biomedical waste as per stipulated guidelines. Involvement of consultants and local level NGO's may be most useful to implement the process.

·        While an inventory of hazardous waste has recently been prepared for the state, no effective plan for handling and disposal exist till date. The State Government could appoint an expert committee under TSPCB to monitor and implement the scheme for appropriate disposal of hazardous waste following GOI guidelines.


12.0 Environmental Education


·        In view of lack of any concerted effort to introduce component of environmental education at primary, secondary and higher secondary level, it is recommended to organize training programmes for selected teachers from each of the districts from all the three streams; this should be followed by preparation of appropriate text and work-study programme, which could be followed by the trained teachers. The entire programme may be implemented with assistance from consultants, preferably using local language for preparation of Text, Manuals and training of teachers.