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January 8, 2018

Assam Current Affairs 7th January 2018

Assam Current Affairs 7th January 2018Rural tourism meet focuses on home-stay  

GUWAHATI, Jan 7: The two-day NEC-sponsored national conference on ‘Livelihoods Through Rural Tourism in North East India: The Way Forward’ organised by the North Eastern Regional Centre (NERC) of the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR), Guwahati, concluded today.

  • It was attended by the former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and a permanent member of UN World Tourism Organisation, MP Bezbarua; member of NEC CK Das; former Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture Bhaskar Baruah; former Commissioner and Secretary, Department of Tourism Swapnanil Barua; Secretary of NEC Ram Muivah and Director General of NIRDPR, Hyderabad, Dr WR Reddy,  among other dignitaries.
  • The two-day conference aimed at promoting rural tourism, with special focus on home-stay as a sustainable livelihood measure among the rural poor of this region . 

Charaideo Mahotsav ends 

SONARI, Jan 7: The first Charaideo Mahotsav, organised by the district administration in cooperation with the people of Charaideo district, concluded on Saturday Journalist Rajdeep Bailung Baruah released the souvenir Che-rai-deo on the occasion.

  • Addressing the gathering, Baruah appealed to the people to vacate the areas identified as Siu-Ka-Pha Maidum and Rani Phuleswari’s Maidum.

Recipient of this year’s Siu-Ka-Pha award, Bimal Borpatragohain, was felicitated on the occasion.
Vote of thanks was offered by Vivekananda Phukon, president of celebration committee.

New species of blind fish discovered inside Meghalaya cave 

SHILLONG, Jan 7: A new species of blind fish has been discovered inside a cave in East Jaintia
Hills district of Meghalaya, a New Zealand-based science journal has revealed.
The fish – Schistura larketensis – gets its name from Larket village, where the cave has been found,
the journal, Zootaxa, said.
  • The species has apparently lost its sight living in the perpetual darkness inside the cave, a joint team of scientists from Gauhati University and North Eastern Hill University said.
  • It has also lost its pigments too while adapting to its habitat in the dark waters, they said.
Khlur Mukhim, a leading researcher from Gauhati University, came across the blind fish in the cave several years ago during an expedition. The cave is about 880 metres above sea level and over 7 km in length.
Mukhim said that the study came out recently though it was found several years ago as he had to corroborate the available facts and figures to establish that the fish was actually blind and belonged to a new species.
The fish sample was collected from small stagnant pools, a few square metres in area and about 1-2 m in depth, about 1,600 feet from the main entrance of the cave.
The pool bed is mostly sandy with pebbles. Other species found inside the cave include weakly pigmented crabs and crayfish, spiders, crickets, cockroaches and millipedes, small frogs and snakes.

  •  Scientists had, in the past, chanced upon porcupine paws and quills on the muddy floor of a passage in the same cave.
  • The fish was named after ‘Larket’ village to encourage local people to take up biodiversity conservation, Khlur said.

Although there are about 200 known species of similar kind inhabiting streams and rivers throughout Indo China and Southeast Asia, this is the first such discovery, according to the researcher.
  • The new fish species can also be immediately distinguished from all other species of Schistura, barring Schistura papulifera – another cave fish from Synrang Pamiang cave system in the same district – for its vestigial subcutaneous eyes appearing as black spots.

Khlur said the orbital diameter gradually decreases as the species matures, with the eyes completely absent in older individuals.
  • Eventually, only small, faintly blackish spot-likedepressions appeared in place of eyes, indicating evolutionary and morphological adaptations.
The researchers have also expressed regret to see the high level of siltation, pollution and acidification of the water drainage systems in Jaintia Hills due to accumulation of acid mine drainage
(AMD) from open-cast coal mining.
Several cement plants located on top of the wide and long cave systems are threatening the cave biodiversity as a whole, the researcher said. 

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