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Admin proposes Rs 46.70 cr budget under IMA plan for Kashmir wetlands

Work going on in full swing in all wetlands: Chief Wildlife Warden 

Post by Irfan Yattoo on Wednesday, December 28, 2022

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Srinagar, Dec 27: The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir administration has proposed a budget of Rs 46.70 crore for the implementation of the Integrated Management Action (IMA) Plan for all wetland conservation reserves of the Kashmir region over a period of five years (2022-27), officials said on Tuesday.
Under the IMA, Rs 18.93 crore will be invested in water management which is critical to the wetland rejuvenation. It is followed by Rs 13.15 crore for biodiversity conservation. Similarly, Rs 7.49 crore has been apportioned for education awareness and eco-tourism, besides, Rs 0.80 crore for sustainable resource development and livelihood development and Rs 6.33 crore for institutional development.
Chief Wildlife Warden, Jammu & Kashmir, Suresh Kumar Gupta told Rising Kashmir that under the IMA plan, the department has already started work in all wetlands of the region. He said they have 8 major wetland conservation reserves in Kashmir that are notified under the Wildlife Act. Among them, Hokersar has been declared a Ramsar site, he said.
"We have started work in all wetlands including de-silting, construction of bunds, bridges and creating infrastructure for the promotion of eco-tourism in wetlands," Gupta said.
He said in order to address the issues and challenges of the wetland, a management action plan is proposed for undertaking various mitigation measures in a 5-year time period.
"It will cover rejuvenation of hydrological functions of all these wetlands through significant enhancement to present water holding capacity and restoration of hydrological connectivity to the adjacent marshes wherever applicable," the Chief Wildlife Warden said.
He said the department has already developed 'Hokersar Wetland' as an eco-tourism site and it will be soon thrown open for the locals and tourists. "We have developed many facilities including sitting benches, swings, sign boards, and bird hoarding, and have developed other infrastructure in the wetland to attract more locals, and tourists to the area. People will really enjoy the beauty of nature and explore other places as well," he said.
Another official at the department said there are many issues and challenges in the wetlands including pollution, habitat modification, siltation, encroachments, weed infestation, management interventions, and other issues.
"Wetland area is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. These wetlands also provide winter resorts for a variety of birds for shelter, nesting, and feeding. They also harbour a vast array of flora and fauna and thus exhibit rich biodiversity," he said.
The official said it will also cover opportunities for livelihood diversification to wetland fringe communities through the development of ecotourism. 

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