THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that a state wetland institute will soon be set up in the state with its headquarters in
Kottayam and branches in the four major wetland areas of the state - Vembanad, Ashtamudi, Sasthamkotta and Kadalundi.
He was inaugurating the national celebrations of World Wetland Day at
Kanakakkunnu palace, here on Thursday.
“In a state that faces huge shortage of land for industries, infrastructure and even housing, there is a whole lot of pressure on the wetlands for developmental activities.
A judicious use of nature’s bounties is the need of the hour. Not only should the wetlands be protected, but they should be kept
pollution-free,’’ said Chandy.
He said that the Vembanad Development Authority for the protection and conservation of Vembanad lake and wetland will soon be functional.
“Not only the wetlands, but all the rivers that flow into the wetlands will also be conserved and protected,’’said Chandy. The conservation of wetlands will go hand-in-hand with
tourism development, taking into consideration the potential of the long coastline that the state had,” he said.
MoEF additional secretary Meera Mehrishi, who attended the celebrations, urged the State Government to set up a State Wetland Authority as had been done in the states of Orissa, Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir, to which Chandy responded positively.
“It will be considered by the state government,’’ he said. A national wetland authority is already in place at the Centre.
Meera Mehrishi said that conservation of wetlands is vital, especially for the rural poor who are directly dependent on natural ecosystems.
“The linkages between wetlands and human development is ancient, with civilisations evolving around river valleys and wetlands,’’ she said.
Meera also said that all state governments will be asked to draw up comprehensive conservation plans for wetlands before April 2012, as part of the National Lake Conservation Plan. As many as 115 wetlands in the country will be provided with Central assistance for conservation.
“I would advise the states to take advantage of the new scheme. However, along with this capacity-building programmes should also be conceived both at the state and national levels,’’ she said.
vice-president V N
Rajasekharan Pillai, MoEF advisor Siddarth Kaul, CESS director N P Kurian, K Muraleedharan MLA and
KSCSTE member secretary K K Ramachandran among
others spoke on the