World Wetlands Day

This has reference to the news item’ World Wetlands Day Celebrated at Gharana’ (DE, Feb 03,20,2020).It is heartening to read that the World Wetlands Day was celebrated by the Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife Protection Department at Gharana Wetland Conservation Reserve which is ‘Important Bird Area’ in J&K and notified under the Wildlife Protection Act.The theme for this year is ‘Wetland and Biodiversity’.There is no doubt our wetlands have rich biodiversity in terms of varied flora and fauna and there is an urgent need to protect our wetlands from encroachments, industrial activity and pollution and reduce human interference to revive their pristine glory so that they continue to serve as sweet home to the migratory birds and and also serve as tourist destination.It is sad that the famous Gharana wetland, known as ‘bird watchers’ paradise’ is reported to have shrunk a lot in area.This famous wetland, abode to the thousands of birds, some of them being rare species which come all the way from Siberia to escape the harsh and prolonged winter there, is a cherished destination for the winged visitors because of warm climate, abundance of food and pollution free environment.The lovers of birds, ornithologists, environmentalists and bird watchers eagerly wait for the winged visitors to come over here to present a captivating sight which is a treat to the eyes.But the fact that it has shrunk is quite shocking and speaks volumes about the negligence of officials entrusted with the responsibility of maintenance and preservation of this wetland.It is, therefore, the need of the hour to take steps to evict the encroachers from this wetland, create favourable environmental conditions to restore this wetland to its original size in order to attract the migratory birds.
There is also need to take action against the officers and officials of the concerned department, whose negligence has led to this wetland being encroached on.Study also needs to be conducted as to whether the migratory birds cause any loss to the crops of the farmers in the fields nearby and if so,adequate compensation should be paid to the farmers living in the vicinity of the Wetland to make up their loss of crops by the birds.They should also be made aware about the need to conserve and preserve this world famous wetland lest it should pass into extinction and our posterity may not be lucky enough to watch the colourful birds present a mesmerising sight as they come here for their sojourn.
Ashok Sharma,
Housing Colony,