Hokersar Wetland Faces Threat from Encroachments

SRINAGAR- Minister of State for Forest and  Environment, Mir Zahoor Ahmad today paid visit to World Famous Wetland Hokersar in the city of Srinagar and took stock of the measures and initiatives taken up by the Department of Wildlife Protection for restoration of the reserve site of Hokersar.

MLA Batmaloo, Noor Mohammad Sheikh, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Wildlife Suresh Chaug,  Chief Wildlife Warden, Rashid Yahya Naqash, Conservator of Forests, Regional Wildlife Warden, Kashmir Region and other Senior Officers of Irrigation & Flood Control, Revenue and Forest and its allied Wings accompanied the Minister during his tour.

The Minister emphasized on the need for dredging of the silted up portion of the Wetland and opening up of cheerlead water channels, so that regular water level is retained in the wetland for the benefit of the birds and local population. He asked the concerned for purchasing of the number of required machines which will facilitate dredging, de-siltation and extraction of weeds from the wetland.

Mir Zahoor desired that the wetland should be brought as Eco-tourism destination on speedy measures.

The Minister was informed that a project at an estimated cost of Rs 9.5 crore have been prepared for the development of Hokersar Wetland and has already been submitted to the concerned quarter for release of necessary financial assistance. He was also informed that the Department is initially a project this year for the restoration of the wetland.

He was told that original area of Hokersar wetland is around 13.75 square kilometres and is a reputed bird sanctuary as birds of various species come from Siberia and spent winter months here in more moderate climate. He was informed that about 5 lakh birds were present in the wetland this year.

The Minister desired for opening of an outlet channel for the water accumulated in the Wetland so that in case of floods, there is no backtrack of the water.

Taking stock of the encroachments, the Minister directed the concerned for demarcation of the Water Body and immediate eviction of encroachments. He said water bodies of the State are shrinking day by day and need of the hour is to protect them, adding that it is prime responsibility of all stakeholders to save Water Bodies of the State.

Earlier, the Minister inspected Jammu and Kashmir State Forest Corporation (JKSFC) Sales Depot Shalteng and discussed in detail the issue of establishment of Pump Station in the premises of SFC Land which is already identified for Storm Water Drainage Scheme Shalteng in Batmaloo Constituency sanctioned under AMRUT at an estimated cost of Rs 55.25 crore.

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