The Meghalaya Cabinet has approved a draft water policy to address water usages, issues of conservation and protection of water sources in the State.
With this, Meghalaya will become the 1st state in India to ensure the conservation of water and have its own State Water Policy.
The policy’s objective is to recognize water resources as a common pool resource, to provide hygienic water for drinking, domestic needs, sanitation and livelihood development.
The policy includes measures like building check dams to conserve rainwater, rainwater harvesting systems, controlling inappropriate use of groundwater and maintaining the quality of water.
Botanical Survey of India has come up with the first comprehensive census of orchids of India- key highlights:
The total number of orchid species or taxa is 1,256.
Orchids can be broadly categorized into three life forms:
epiphytic (plants growing on other plants including those growing on rock boulders and often termed lithophyte).
terrestrial (plants growing on land and climbers).
mycoheterotrophic (plants which derive nutrients from mycorrhizal fungi that are attached to the roots of a vascular plant).
About 60% of all orchids found in the country, which is 757 species, are epiphytic, 447 are terrestrial and 43 are mycoheterotrophic.
The epiphytic orchids are abundant up to 1800 m above the sea level and their occurrence decreases with the increase in altitude.
Terrestrial orchids, which grow directly on soil, are found in large numbers in temperate and alpine region whereas mycoheterotrophic orchids, mostly associated with ectomycorrhizal fungi, are found in temperate regions, or are found growing with parasites in tropical regions.
Himalayas, North-East parts of the country and Western Ghats are the hot-spots of the beautiful plant species.
The highest number of orchid species is recorded from Arunachal Pradesh with 612 species, followed by Sikkim 560 species and West Bengal; Darjeeling Himalayas have also high species concentration, with 479 species.
While north-east India rank at the top in species concentration, the Western Ghats have high endemism of orchids.
Kerala has 111 of these endemic species while Tamil Nadu has 92 of them.
Among the 10 bio geographic zones of India, the Himalayan zone is the richest in terms of orchid species followed by Northeast, Western Ghats, Deccan plateau and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Protection: The entire orchid family is listed under appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and hence any trade of wild orchid is banned globally.