Revenue Deptt fails to change record, facilitate demarcation
Slackness despite HC directives on conservation of water bodies
JAMMU, Nov 16: Four wetland reserves of Jammu having huge potential for tourism promotion because of being abode to diverse specifies of birds from different corners of the world are craving for due attention of the concerned authorities during the past over 37 years. Their complete neglect is notwithstanding the fact that State High Court has passed numerous directions to the State for conservation of all the water bodies so as to reduce the impacts of floods.
These wetland reserves are situated in Pargwal, Sangral, Kukrian and Nanga and were notified by the Forest Department vide Order No. FST/20 dated February 4, 1981 under the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife Protection Act, 1978 in pursuance to the Cabinet Decision No.35 dated February 2, 1981.
In the Forest Department order of 1981, the area of Pargwal wetland reserve was reflected as 12154 acre while as that of Kukrian wetland reserve as 6000 acre. Similarly, the area of Sangral wetland reserve was mentioned as 1729 acre and that of Nanga wetland reserve as 3781 acre.
The boundaries of Pargwal wetland reserve are spread over Chak Malpur, Battan Balla, Takho Chak, Chicken Neck, Bhatairi, Sarkapur and Chak Karpal villages while as area of Kukrian wetland reserve is spread over Batore, Bangore, Kukrian, Sandun and Makwal villages. Likewise, the area of Sangral wetland reserve is spread over Assa Chak, Kulian, Tankanwali, Raipur Saiydan and Chandu Chak villages and Nanga wetland reserve is spread over Purpur, Tanda, Chak Paras and Nanga villages.
The objective behind notification of these wetland reserves under the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife Protection Act, 1978 was to ensure their proper conservation and make them spots of tourist attraction by developing view points and providing other facilities, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
However, even 37 years after their notification under J&K Wildlife Protection Act, these wetland reserves are craving for due attention of all the concerned authorities, they regretted while disclosing that not even single step has so far been initiated for the conservation of these wetland reserves and making them spots of tourist attraction.
“What to talk of conservation even these wetland reserves have not been formally handed over to the Wildlife Protection Department by the Revenue Department by carrying out necessary changes in the revenue record, which otherwise was imperative for their proper demarcation and subsequent protection”, sources further disclosed, adding “these wetland reserves are still reflected as property of Revenue Department in the relevant records”.
Disclosing that all these four wetland reserves are abode to diverse specifies of the birds from different corners of the world on the pattern of Gharana wetland in R S Pura, they said, “in the absence of demarcation and proper watch and ward the poaching activities in these wetland reserves by the people living in adjoining areas are going unchecked”.
“Moreover, for want of demarcation nobody knows what is present area of these wetland reserves and how much shrinking has taken place because of varied reasons”, sources said, adding “on the pattern of Gharana, the Wildlife Protection Department can annually earmark funds for the conservation of these four wetland reserves but the same would be a fruitful exercise only when necessary changes are made in the revenue record and boundaries of these water bodies are demarcated properly jointly by the Revenue and Wildlife Protection Departments”.
According to the sources, in the recent past two of these four wetland reserves were visited jointly by the teams of Revenue and Wildlife Protection Departments but demarcation has yet not been started. “Demarcation and changes in the revenue records are imperative for drawing concrete conservation plan for each of these wetlands and seek requisite funds from the Government”, they added.
The non-serious approach towards these wetland reserves is notwithstanding the fact that State High Court has issued numerous directions in Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on conservation of wetlands.
“The Cabinet decision and Forest Department order of 1981 were also shared with the High Court several months back and accordingly directions were passed for their conservation but till date no positive development has taken place”, sources said.