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No Voice for Soul™ of Chandigarh

Senior representatives from nodal agencies of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand looking after wetlands were in attendance to present their case before senior officials from MoEF&CC, including Advisor to the Ministry Mr Brijesh Sikka and its Director Dr A. Duraisamy. The expected presentations from Chandigarh and Delhi did not come about despite it being a prestigious platform. The inexplicable absence of Chandigarh was all the more glaring since the workshop was happening in the city.

No Voice for Soul™ of Chandigarh, Lifeinchd

Image Courtesy: Google

Himachal Pradesh Council for Science and Technology presented innovative ways it had employed to conserve the three wetlands in the state identified as of “international importance” under the Ramsar Convention – Pong Dam Lake, Chandratal and Renuka – and national wetlands Rewalsar and Khajiar lakes.

Three different representatives from Punjab showcased the conservation work being done at the Harike, Ranjit Sagar and Keshopur (Gurdaspur) wetlands which had resulted in migratory and other birds flocking to these sites.

No Voice for Soul™ of Chandigarh, Lifeinchd

A senior officer from Haryana talked about the famous wetlands of the state like Sultanpur and Bhindawas, which were also major tourist attractions. The presentations by Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand were pretty much skeletal.

Mr Brijesh Sikka told on the sidelines of the workshop that a lot of serious efforts were being made to bring conservation of wetlands on top of the agenda in the country. But since land and water were both in the state list the onus was more on the states to take initiatives.  The central government will not be found wanting in providing all support to the states, including funding, he assured.

No Voice for Soul™ of Chandigarh, Lifeinchd

Ten states had already created independent Wetland management authorities while other states were continuing with nodal agencies appointed to oversee this work, he said.

Among others who graced the occasion were Mr. Arunjit Singh Miglani, Punjab Science, Technology and Environment Secretary, Dr. Jatinder Kaur Arora, Executive Director, PSCST, and Dr. Ritesh Kumar, Conservation Programme Manager, Wetlands International South Asia.

Importance of wetlands

Wetlands are land areas that are saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that they take on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem and play a number of roles in the environment, principally water purification, ground water recharge, habitat for wildlife, flood control, carbon sink, etc.

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