A year since inception, panel yet to document new wetlands

Kovai-based centre to help the authority to record 105 wetlands in two phases.

Published: 06th September 2017 08:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th September 2017 08:24 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: More than a year has passed after it was set up, but Tamil Nadu State Wetland Authority is yet to document the new wetlands in the State and is struggling with infrastructure issues.
The authority, which came into being in May 2016, is now seeking the help of Coimbatore-based Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History  (SACON) to document 105 wetlands in the state in two phases.

It is learnt that the list of 105 wetlands was drafted by SACON in 2002.  Sources told Express that SACON will be documenting the 50 wetlands in first phase and the remaining in second phase. The entire process could take around two years.“A proposal has been sent to State Planning Commission which has agreed in principle to fund the project,” sources said.“Once the Wetlands are documented then a roadmap to protect the wetland will be evolved,” sources added.

As per Ramsar sites in India, the wetlands of Point Calimere, Kaiveli and Pallikaranai figure in the list of 26 wetlands in the country. Wetlands help to retain water during dry season thus keeping the water table high and during floods they help in reducing flood levels.

Interestingly, the Tamil Nadu Wetland Authority was formed after the National Green Tribunal in Delhi directed the States to notify the prioritised wetlands in the States under Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules  2010 and to inform the tribunal of the progress on documenting it.

It  is learnt that the state wetland authority was created to finalise and  approve the management plan of any wetland in Tamil Nadu for  submission to Central Wetland Regulatory Authority as and when required and also put in place regulatory and monitoring protocols for  conservation of wetlands in the state.
It  is learnt that most of the wetlands brought during the earlier meeting of state wetland authority were irrigation tanks and some were used for  drinking water purposes.  

Meanwhile, officials are still struggling with the organisational set up of  authority and now a revised proposal to set up the authority at a cost of ` 385 crore has been proposed.Proposals are also being worked out to bring the authority to function in society mode. Sources said proposals for constituting the wetland authority into a society had been submitted to government for approval.

Status report
As  per Ramsar sites in India,the wetlands of Point Calimere,Kaiveli and  Pallikaranai figure in
the list of 26 wetlands in the country
Tamil Nadu is seeking the help of Coimbatore-based Salim Ali Centre for  Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) to document 105 wetlands in the  State in two phases
Proposals have been sent to form district-level wetland management committees
Plans are on to get society status for the State Wetland Authority


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