Haryana forest department asks district admins to come up with wetland conservation plan
GURUGRAM: The state forest department stressed on Monday that each district needs to come
up with a conservation plan for its wetlands facing the dual threats of encroachments and
rampant construction activities. Meanwhile, on February 2, the department will organise an
event to celebrate World Wetland Day at the Sultanpur National Park.
During a webinar on wetland conservation organised by the state forest department on
Monday, Jagdish Chandra, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), Haryana, said, “The
state has been working towards notifying wetlands and conserving them. We have already got
the Ramsar tag for two of our wetlands last year.”
Currently, only two wetlands in Haryana have the Ramsar tag — Sultanpur National
Park, Gurgaon, spread across 353 acres, and Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary, Jhajjar, covering
more than 1,000 acres. Both wetlands are home to a wealth of bird species and attract many
migratory birds every year, including the black-winged stilt, pond heron, pied kingfisher, purple
heron, shoveller, white-breasted waterhen, white-breasted kingfisher and prinia.
Chandra said, “Birds come to rest on these wetlands where specific trees help attract the birds.
So, they were declared Ramsar sites, but they face threats, too. The Sultanpur National Park
faces threats from large-scale construction activities around it. We are now working to protect
water bodies and wetlands across the state.”
Chandra stressed that India needs more Ramsar sites. “The economic value of wetlands is very
high, and they are a source of groundwater recharge. They absorb carbon and thus, can act as
climate change mitigators. But they are constantly under threat. Every district needs to come up
with a management plan for these wetlands.”
Manju Pandey, joint secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC),
who was part of the virtual meeting, pointed out that India has a target to have 75 Ramsar sites
this year. “Till now, we have 47 Ramsar sites, and we are planning to touch the 75 mark this
year,” he said.
Ramsar sites are wetlands of international importance, which get legal protection and
management guidelines, according to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, 1971.
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