Wetland Conservation: Govt Sets Up Technical, Grievance Panels

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday accorded sanction to the constitution of separate technical and grievance committees for conservation and management of wetlands.

The Technical Committee is headed by Director, Department of Environment, Ecology & Remote Sensing while it members include Chief Conservator of Forests (Working Plan, Research & Training), Special Secretary (Technical), Department of Forest, Ecology & Environment, J&K (member secretary), Law Officer, J&K Pollution Control Committee, Dr. Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Kashmir, Dr. Deepika Slathia, Sr. Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Jammu and Er. Ajaz Rasool, Retired Superintendent Engineer, Lakes & Waterways Development Authority. The committee, formed in terms of Rule 5(6) of the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017, can also co-opt any other member as per requirement, reads an order by Manoj Kumar Dwivedi (IAS) Commissioner/ Secretary to the Government.

The committee has been tasked to review brief documents and management plans and advise on any technical matter referred by the Wetland Authority.

“The Technical Committee shall meet at least once in every quarter to perform its functions, as per Rule 5(7) of the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017,” the order said.

The wetlands being vital parts of the hydrological cycle are highly productive ecosystems which support rich biodiversity and provide a wide range of ecosystem services such as water storage, water purification, flood mitigation, erosion control, aquifer recharge, microclimate regulation and aesthetic enhancement of landscapes. Many wetlands are threatened by reclamation and degradation through drainage and landfill, pollution (discharge of domestic and industrial effluents, disposal of solid wastes), hydrological alteration (water withdrawal and changes in inflow and outflow), over-exploitation of their natural resources resulting in loss of biodiversity and disruption in ecosystem services provided by wetlands.

Meanwhile, grievance committee shall be headed by Chief Wildlife Warden, J&K, and its members include Additional Commissioner, Jammu/Kashmir, in the offices of Divisional Commissioner, Jammu/Kashmir, Member Secretary, J&K Pollution Control Committee and Special Secretary/Additional Secretary, Department of Forest, Ecology & Environment (Member-Secretary of the Authority).

The terms of reference for the committee include providing a mechanism for hearing and forwarding the grievances raised by the public to the Authority.

“The Grievance Committee shall meet at least once in every quarter to perform its functions, as per Rule 5(7) of the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017,” the order said. Department of Environment, Ecology and Remote Sensing has been nominated as the Nodal Department for preparing digital inventory etc of wetlands of Jammu and Kashmir.

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