SMC wakes up to conserve wetlands

Srinagar Municipal Corporation has chalked out a strategy to conserve wetlands in Srinagar falling within domain of civic body.

The decision was taken after the civic body received complaints from general public about land mafia encroaching wetlands in the summer capital.

As a part of the strategy, a special team of officials have been set up to look into the complaints of encroachment of Narkara wetland, Ancharsar, Gilsar, Khushalsar, and Hokersar.

An official privy to the development said that another team of officials from SMC enforcement wing has been set up to start a special anti-encroachment drive in these areas. He informed SMC is going to act very tough against the illegal construction raised in wetland areas.

SMC has also issued an order prohibiting filling of wetlands.

In a separate notification, the SMC said in order to “preserve and protect the water bodies from further encroachment and illegal occupation the inhabitants residing around/ adjacent to Narkara wetland, Ancharsar, Gilsar, Khushalsar, and Hokersar, are hereby advised not to indulge in any illegal constructional activity viz-a-viz residential, commercial, or of any other nature.”

SMC Commissioner, Gazanfar Ali said that the initiative gains immense importance as wetlands are imperative part of eco-system.

“Conservation of wetlands is sign of healthy and sustainable urban development. They are an intrinsic part of the eco system,” he said.

SMC Secretary Akbar Sofi said that water bodies are important feature in the landscape. “Wetlands are vital in the hydrological severe conditions like drought and floods. They influence the micro-climate as well as enhance the aesthetic beauty of the landscape and offer various recreational opportunities,” he added.

“Therefore, the need to initiate efforts to conserve wetlands are inseparable part of the whole eco system cannot be undermined,” he said.