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Govt to construct watch towers in wetlands to promote eco-tourism

Post by Irfan Yattoo on Tuesday, January 17, 2023

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Srinagar, Jan 16: The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir administration is mulling to construct watch towers across wetlands in Kashmir, official on Monday said.
Chief Wildlife Warden, Jammu, and Kashmir, Suresh Kumar Gupta told Rising Kashmir that under the IMA plan, the department will construct 3-4 watch towers in each wetland to promote eco-tourism in the region.
He said at Hokersar wetland, three watchtowers have been proposed, 3 Hygam, 2 Shallabugh, 3 Chattlum,2 Manibugh, 2 Kranchoo, and 3 at Fashkoori wetland.
"The locations of the watchtowers will be selected keeping in view the sensitivity as well as the accessibility to enjoy bird watching and photography besides keep watch and ward as well," he said.
Kumar said construction of these towers could be taken up during the low water season. Provision of equipment such as 74 binoculars and spotting scopes for use of school, college groups and serious bird watchers shall be made by the Department,” he said.
The Wetland Conservation Reserves in Kashmir are notified under the Wildlife Protection Act and are presently being managed by the Department of Wildlife Protection, Jammu & Kashmir. The list includes Hokersar, Shallabugh, Mirgund, Hygam, Chattlam, Kranchoo, Manibough, and Freshkhori.
Another official said the department is focused to promote ecotourism as a new enhanced sustainable livelihood option for the local communities in and around wetlands.
"In the coming time, the boardwalks and nature trails will give the visitors a good chance to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the peaceful environment of Hokersar," he said.
The official said in order to maintain biodiversity, improve habitat conditions, and to create natural food processes for the inhabiting life forms in the wetland, necessary provision under this head has been kept for the purpose.
“To rehabilitate and restore habitat conditions in the wetland, removal of silt and slash through mechanical and traditional means will be initiated which in turn will give economic benefit to the locals,” he said.
In August 2022, the Shallabugh and Haigam wetlands of Kashmir were added by the Union Government to the list of Ramsar sites.
With the addition of these two, the number of Ramsar sites in Jammu and Kashmir has gone up to 5. Surinsar-Mansar in Jammu and Hokersar and Wullar in Kashmir are already Ramsar sites.

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