The Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta today chaired the second meeting of the Wetland Authority for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.Principal Secretary, Jal Shakti Department, Principal Secretary, Housing & Urban Development Department, Commissioner/Secretary, Forest, Ecology & Environment Department, and Commissioner/Secretary, Tourism Department along with Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and concerned HoDs participated in the meeting.
The Chief Secretary approved the proposal of the Forest, Ecology & Environment Department to designate Wular Lake as Wetland in terms of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.The Wular lake is spread over 13,000 ha of area with an additional 486.12 ha area as its zone of influence. On completion of the procedure of declaring the water body as a protected wetland, various degradation-causing activities will be prohibited in the area.
These activities include encroachment of the wetland, setting up of industries, disposal of construction waste, discharge of untreated waste, release of invasive species, feeding of migratory birds etc. Further, various activities will be regulated within the wetland as well as in its zone of influence which include withdrawal of water, harvesting of resources, construction of pontoon bridges, aquaculture, agriculture, horticulture and eco-tourism.
The J&K Wetland Authority also approved the Integrated Management Plan for Conservation of Wular lake to promote an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach for conservation and management of the water body. The Chief Secretary advised the Forest Department to engage scientific methods for dredging, de-silting and de-weeding for restoration and rejuvenation of Wular lake.
Under the Integrated Management Plan, various activities worth Rs. 150.00 crores will be undertaken for scientific management of the wetland. The proposed activities include extensive survey and demarcation, catchment conservation, water management, bio-diversity conservation, sustainable livelihood generation, and institutional development.