Guwahati: Assam’s only Ramsar site on the south-western edge of Guwahati, Deepor Beel will be converted into something similar to Kashmir’s Dal Lake, with plans for about 100 houseboats to turn the wetland into a major tourism hub.

In a written reply in the assembly, Tourism Minister Bimal Borah said that the department was exploring all possibilities for converting Deepor Beel into something similar to Kashmir’s Dal Lake.

He added that since the site is a bird sanctuary, the planning has reached advanced stage and talks are on with the forest department for smooth execution of the project without disturbing the natural habitat.

Deepor Beel was designated a Ramsar site in 2002 for sustaining a range of aquatic life forms besides 219 species of birds. A Ramsar site is a wetland designated to be of international importance under the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the Caspian Sea shore.

The area of the wetland is spread across about 6,000 hectares in the late 1980s. Satellite imagery has revealed that its area has shrunk by at least 35% since 1991.Deepor Beel officially has an area of 4,014 hectares or 15.5 square miles.

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