SRINAGAR- Wetlands not wasteland, wetlands are natural wealth lands, wrote Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole on a pledge wall to save and protect Hokersar wetland and send a loud and clear message about preservation and protection of all wetlands.
Kashmir has a chain of wetlands supporting vast biodiversity most of which circumvent Srinagar and Budgam with huge potential of tourism and employment generation, said Div Com while visiting Hokersar wetland on the occasion of World Wetlands Day celebrated by the Department of Wildlife Protection, J&K.
Besides Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, the Pledge wall was signed by Regional Wildlife Warden Kashmir; Officers of Deptt of Wildlife Protection, president, NPWWF, NGO; Wetland Mitras and civil society members.
Div Com underlined the responsibility of people for the protection of wetlands and said that encroachments shall be dealt with strict action.
He said wetlands are biological hot spots and play pivotal roles in the conservation of nature. "Our wetlands attract aves from Siberia and other cold places which presents beautiful views for bird lovers", Pole said.
The Government has prepared a detailed plan to promote wetlands including Wular, Hokersar, Hygam, Shalbugh and other places, he said. Meanwhile, he appealed to people residing on the banks of wetlands not to treat wetlands as wastelands but get involved in protection of these natural resources. Instead, he asked them to create watch towers which would attract tourists and generate income for them.
Pole informed that Hokersar wetland used to have low water level but efforts have been made to increase the water level and further added that Irrigation and Flood Control Department will raise the water level which would be instrumental to attract more birds as well as tourists.
Div Com said that the Wildlife Department is creating awareness and training the people residing around wetlands to create legally permissible tourism infrastructure of watch towers on their own land to earn livelihood.
While speaking with the media regarding the action taken by the government for conservation and restoration of wetlands, he said that last year Khushalsar and Gilsar were taken for restoration and today more than seventy percent area has been restored.
He said restoration of other wetlands and water channels will be taken soon and results will be visible on ground.
Wildlife department celebrates ‘World Wetland Day’ at Hokersar
On the occasion of ‘World Wetland Day’ celebrated every year on 2nd of February, an inaugural function was organized on Wednesday by the Department of Wildlife Protection J&K Government, Wetlands Division Kashmir at Hokersar Wetland Conservation Reserve which is a famous Ramsar Site of Jammu & Kashmir.
On the occasion, the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir was the Chief Guest.
The main aim of the function was to focus on the international theme ‘Wetland Action for people and Nature’ to highlight the importance of actions, to ensure conservation and sustainable use of valley wetlands.
A Signature campaign on the Wall of pledge to save and protect Hokersar Wetland Conservation Reserve was inaugurated by the Chief Guest by signing on the wall. The wall of pledge was also signed by Rashid Yahya Naqash, Conservator of Forests, Wildlife/Regional Wildlife Warden, Kashmir Region Srinagar; Ifshan Deewan (Wildlife Warden, Wetlands Division Kashmir); Assistant District Development Commissioner-Budgam; Nazir Benazir, Chairman, National Society for protection of water resources, forest & Wetlands; Dr Sheikh Ghulam Rasool, Founder & Chairman of School for Rural Development & Environment(SRDE), Wildlife Mitra’s, Youth clubs, Civil Societies, local community members, school going children and other dignitaries.
Further Essay Writing/ theme poster coloring competition was conducted during the programme in which students from various schools participated.
On the occasion Rashid Yahya Naqash, Conservator of Forests, Wildlife/Regional Wildlife Warden, Kashmir Region Srinagar highlighted the importance of the Wetlands in Kashmir valley and their role for the sustenance of the endemic flora and fauna and for the upgradation of the water bodies in Kashmir region.
During the program SOPs pertaining to COVID-19 were followed in letter and spirit.
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