Minister of State for Education, Tourism and Culture, Priya Sethi today called for preservation of wetlands and stressed on creating mass awareness campaigns to educate stakeholders from all walks of society, particularly local communities on the value of wetland ecosystems.The Minister stated this during Photography and Painting Exhibition organised by J&K Tourism department to mark the “World Wetlands Day” celebrations here today where she was present as the Chief Guest. The Gharana Wetland, a home to migratory birds was the cynosure of the event.The photographs of different species of birds visiting “Gharana” as seen from the lens of Chief Justice, J&K High Court, Badar Durrez Ahmed along with the photographs of wetlands of Jammu region portrayed by various photographers were also showcased during the exhibition.While speaking on the occasion, the Minister stressed on conservation of Gharana wetlands and its adjoining wetlands of Makwal, Kukdian, Abdullian and Pargwal, known as the paradise of migratory birds.
Located along the border areas in Jammu, all these wetlands are recognized as important bird sites, the Minister said adding that the preservation of these wetlands will not only boost the border tourism but also prove to be a key aspect for sustainable development of such areas.The Minister appreciated Tourism Department for taking an initiative to spread awareness among the younger generation towards the value of wetlands by organising such event.Underlining the importance of conservation and sustainable management of the wetlands, Priya said that the continued functioning of wetlands has acquired a new meaning in the age of increasing water and food security. Wetland conservation acquires prominence for the security of human well being and are also the life support for a range of plant and animal life and with its degradation, the existence of these life forms would be under jeopardy”, she maintained.
The Minister further stressed on organising variety of programs like seminars, lectures, nature walks, sampan race, poster exhibitions, video films screening, slide shows based on the wetland, art and quiz competitions, painting competition, photography exhibition and many alike to raise awareness towards importance and values of wetlands.On the occasion, a live painting on the theme “Wings and Wetland Birds” was carried out by eminent artist, KK Gandhi.Students from various schools and colleges also visited the exhibition to have a glance to the wetland heritage of the state and know about the migratory birds.Prominent among others who were present on the occasion were Advisor Infrastructure Development, Pradeep Singh, Director Tourism Jammu, Smita Sethi, Dy Director, Showkat Mehmood, Dy. Director Information (PR) Jammu, Atul Gupta, Dy. Director Information, (AV) Rakesh Dubey, ADT, Jammu, Rupali Mahajan, besides senior functionaries of Tourism Department .Pertinently, World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2 each year to mark the Day the Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian City of Ramsar in 1971. India is a party to the Convention since 1982 and committed to the Ramsar approach of wise use of wetlands.