INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE, LIVELIHOOD OPTIONS AND HABITAT CONSERVATION VIS-À-VIS DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH IN THE NORTHEAST

As the paradox of extraordinary natural resources and yet an under-developed Northeast and Eastern Himalayan region continues to remain unresolved, irreversible damage to the fragile ecology looms large due to unparalleled infrastructure initiatives. Current growth and developmental path appears unsustainable, as irreparable habitat loss is taking place in a manner that has threatened habitat-based, culturally diverse indigenous livelihoods. While natural resources alone, in the absence of blending of traditional knowledge, rather wisdom, with appropriate low impact technology supported by required institutional mechanism and a holistic vision, is unlikely to nurture a productive economy, unplanned infrastructure may be last nail in the coffin. In the backdrop of average per capita income lower in Northeast India by one third than the country average, all sectors reflect: (a) federal government rather than regional interest in decision-making; (b) weak, complex and inadequate institutional arrangements for profitable and ecologically pragmatic local enterprises; (c) fragmented, insulated and largely un-documented, and hence incomplete and partly inaccessible indigenous knowledge base; and (d) growing disillusionment by local communities with current economic initiatives due to adequacy-deficit and credibility-deficit of past initiatives to deliver. This can possibly be changed with a targeted thrust on ecologically sensitive local governments, communities and indigenous grass root stakeholders. Key among the much overdue changes are (a) collective cooperation in ecosystem based livelihood security; (b) increased conservation responsibility by the different responsible groups, agencies, individuals; and (c) decentralization of decision making to adequately accommodate habitat based livelihoods. This last pristine frontier of the planet must seek livelihood options that are in sync with sustainable regenerative cycles of its habitats and disown other options. This process must include mechanisms for equitably sharing the  benefits  and  focus   more   upon  locally profitable ecosystem centric livelihood activities that can have immediate 
sustainable impact on food-water-energy security at the community level. Institutions must be able to create and manage an environment of incentives and disincentives that encourage initiatives consistent with sound habitat protection objectives, and discourage initiatives that direct benefits to exclusive small groups while inflicting social and environmental damage and consequent resource insecurity to the community at large.

Editorial note prepared by:
Dr Chandan Mahanta 
Head, Dept of Civil Engineering, IIT, Guwahati


DIMORIANREVIEW, VOL-6, ISSUE-3, MAY-JUNE 2019 RELEASED

Thanks again to all contributors! They are the most valuable resource persons with unconditional support and cooperation in making our effort successful every time.

Our earnest gratitude to all the honorary board members for their association in the journey of the e-journal.

We sincerely acknowledge with deep sense of respect to Dr Chandan Mahanta for leading us from the Editors’ Desk with his insightful ideas that can be instrumental towards the socio-economic developing process in the Northeastern part of India.

Dr Chandan Mahanta is currently a Professor & Head in the Department of Civil Engineering and a Professor & former Head of the Centre for the Environment at Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati.  He is member of Board of Governors of NIT Sikkim, NIT Nagaland and Khelhoshe Polytechnic, Nagaland. He was an ASCE-EWRI visiting fellow at the Utah Water Research Laboratory of the Utah State University, USA and was EurIndia visiting fellow to the University of Applied Sciences, Karlsruhe, Germany. He was in the Monash Sustainability Institute of Monash University under the Australian Leadership Award Fellowship Programme and was part of the Hydro Diplomacy training program jointly conducted by MIT, Harvard University and Tufts University.  Prof Mahanta has served for various national and international committees including in working groups in the Planning Commission of India. Prof Mahanta has carried out projects focusing upon Natural Resource Management and particularly environmental management funded by national and international agencies including MHRD, MoUD, MoEF, DST, SIDA, EURINDIA, UNICEF, WWF and IUCN. Prof Mahanta has authored more than seventy technical publications in peer reviewed journals, proceedings and books. He has organised trainings, workshops, conferences and has lectured to a cross section of professionals in USA, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, China, Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries including Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and has collaborations with several US and European universities. He has been advisor to about twenty five PhD and more than fifty Masters Students. Prof Mahanta is particularly passionate about steering the society towards an environmentally secure future through a sustainable pathway.

We are deficient of saying more words, but once again we must say “Thank You” to Dr Chandan Mahanta for sparing his invaluable time for us and for enlightening the society with his brightest ideas in the field of higher education. We wish him a very happy life.

Hope readers will love reading this issue!
Editorial Team
DIMORIANREVIEW
Vol-6, Issue-3; May-June 2019

2 comments:

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