Panel to demarcate Hokersar wetland

Panel to demarcate Hokersar wetland
File Photo

Government has constituted a panel to demarcate boundaries of Hokersar wetland to prevent encroachments.

According to official communique, the state administrationhas "expressed concern over the annihilation caused to Hokersar wetlanddue to the vagaries of the weather, human intervention".

Divisional commissioner, Kashmir has ordered constitution ofcommittee to be headed by Deputy commissioners of Srinagar , Budgam todemarcate the boundaries of the wetland.

A senior Irrigation and Flood Control department officialinformed that Hokersar wetland has shrunk over the years mostly due toencroachments.

"There is a dire need to demarcate the boundaries, so thatthis wetland restores its lost glory," he said adding that a proposal to makeHokersar wetland as eco-tourism destination is in pipeline. "However theonly thing hindering this process is absence of demarcation lines."

"Therefore Divisional Commissioner Kashmir during a meetingasked the deputy commissioners of Srinagar, Budgam  to ensure demarcation of boundaries fallingin their respective areas under their jurisdiction.

"Committee headed by the respective deputy commissionerswill demarcate the boundaries of the Hokersar wetland .The members of thecommittee shall be drawn from wildlife department, Irrigation and floodcontrol, Rakhs and farms, Regional director, Survey and land records Srinagar.The demarcation should be carried out on urgent basis and completed within theshortest possible time," reads the minutes of the meeting chaired by theDivisional commissioner Kashmir.

It states Chief engineer Irrigation and flood control shallconstruct hydraulic gates at the entry and exit points of Hokersar wetland inorder to maintain minimum wetland in order to maintain minimum water level inthe wetland. Chief Engineer I&FC department shall initiate appropriatemeasures for tendering the work.

"Regional wildlife warden, Kashmir apprised that acomprehensive plan/project for preservation and restoration of wetland aseco-tourism destination has already formulated and stands submitted to thetourism department for funding of the project. However boundaries of thewetland need to be delineated properly so that its area is mapped out," itadds.

In absence of conservation measures over past nearly twodecades, Hokersar has been pushed to the verge of extinction. A study conductedby Department of Earth Sciences Kashmir University reveals that Hokersar hasshrunk from 18.75 sq Kms in 1969 to 12.8 sq Kms.

Situated on city outskirts, Hokersar till a few decades agowas known as the 'Queen of Wetlands'. Hokersar is an important refuge for migratory waterfowls, shorebirds andtrans-Himalayan species during winters. It also acts as one of the major floodabsorption basins.

 Owing to its immenseecological value, Hokersar has been declared as Conservation Reserve under theJammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1978. It was also declared asRamsar site on November 8, 2005 under the Ramsar Convention. India is asignatory to the Ramsar Convention— an international treaty for theconservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands.

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