Jammu, Oct 20: The Wildlife Department has prepared a 10-year management plan for Gharana Wetland Conservation Reserve that is home to over 10,000 migratory birds from Central Asia, Mongolia, China, and Russia.
However, the plan is facing a stumbling block with the villagers in Gharana seeking compensation at par with market rates.
According to the officials, the Wildlife department has given Rs 11.70 crore to the Revenue department for land acquisition from the farmers whose land comes under the management plan.
“They are demanding Rs 5 lakh per kanal and the prestigious project is hanging in the balance even after demarcation and installing of poles on the identified land for the past two years,” they said.
The officials said that 408 kanal and 14 marla land had been demarcated with the help of Police for the Gharana Wetland.
They said that the people were not permitting any developmental activities like road construction, its widening, and bio-gas plant in the area.
“This is happening due to a communication gap between the concerned department and the people whose land is to be acquired,” Sarpanch Flora, Surjeet Singh Choudhary said.
Choudhary said that the department officials should have detailed meetings with the villagers and share details about the developmental plan with them.
The officials said that in the management plan for the next 10 years the women of the village would get benefits of self-employment schemes, bathrooms would be developed, beautification of the area would be done and other developmental works also undertaken.
“We have to address issues of the public as well as of the birds so that the wetland is developed in a sustainable manner,” they said. “Presently, we are doing small activities like de-silting and re-weeding the wetland area.”
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Wildlife Warden, Jammu, Anil Attri said, “The 10 year management plan is about development in a sustainable manner. It will also include compensation if their crops get damaged because of migratory birds, overall development of the area for eco-tourism, and wetland for migratory birds.”
He said that the Wildlife department had given a compensation amount to the Revenue department for its disbursement among the farmers whose land was to be acquired for the development of the wetland area.
At least 5000 to 6000 bar-headed geese and other species of birds comprising a total of 10, 000 migratory birds visit the Gharana Wetland every year during winter.
The Gharana Wetland is being developed as a major tourist destination and, presently, the approach road towards Gharana village from RS Pura, Suchetgarh is not in a good condition though the main road is black-topped.
Sarpanch Flora, Choudhary said that the single road which was in a shabby condition needed to be widened under the plan which was yet to be executed on ground.