‘Naga Hills Ophiolite’ near Pungro identified as geoheritage site
Dimapur, Jan. 24 (EMN): Recognising the immense importance of the natural heritage of the great Indian subcontinent that displays the unique geological characteristics of outstanding universal scientific value, Ministry of Mines has published the much awaited draft bill on Geoheritage Sites and Geo-relics (Preservation and Maintenance), 2022 for public consultation on its portal (https://www.mines.gov.in/).
A PIB report stated that the Geological Survey of India (GSI) under the Ministry of Mines, government of India, has till date declared several geoheritage sites across the country. Among the identified sites of geological heritage included ‘Naga Hills Ophiolite’ near Pungro under Kiphire district in Nagaland.
“Ophiolite sequence represents a remnant of deep oceanic floor of Late Jurassic age (148±4 million years ago) which have been emplaced as a consequence of collision between Indian and Myanmar micro plate. In view of its role to provide information about the deep inaccessible part of the earth, the ophiolite sequence is a cynosure to geoscientists across the globe,” the report stated.
It stated that the bill was under consideration for past few years by the GOI. It added that the enactment of Geoheritage Act would be a major step towards the declaration, conservation, protection and maintenance of geoheritage sites and geo-relics of national importance for geological studies, education, research and spreading awareness within India and outside.
It stated that those geoheritage sites also hold immense potential to support livelihood, through creation of employment opportunities and generation of revenues for conservation and maintenance of the geoheritage sites. Additionally, it would also create a feeling of ownership among the local inhabitants.
Amongst other salient features, the bill enables the central government to acquire area under a geoheritage site under the provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (RFCTLARR Act), the acquisition being for a public purpose within the meaning of that Act, report added. It stated that the central government would also be authorised to declare the area around each geoheritage site as prohibited area and regulated area and their extent may be different for each site.
Panoramic view of the geoheritage site near Pungro in Kiphire district.
It mentioned that India is a party to the UNESCO Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage, adopted on November 16, 1972, at Paris and ratified by India on November 14 in 1977. The participation was to ensure the effective and active measures for protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage situated within its territory.
It also stated that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has adopted a resolution in 2015 that affirmed geodiversity and geoheritage as integral parts of natural diversity and natural heritage and therefore, geodiversity and geo-conservation has to be treated as inseparable from biodiversity and nature conservation.