The first meeting of State level Steering Committee for Wetlands was held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy. In the meeting, Chief Secretary stressed upon preparing effective Comprehensive Management Action Plans with special focus on technical aspects for development of Wetlands in the State. He urged the nodal departments to adopt a multi-sectoral approach by ensuring proper co-ordination of line departments like tourism, forests, fisheries, rural development etc along with the concerned district administration.

Roy emphasized upon incorporating technical ecological interventions by consulting technical experts for preparation of concrete management action plans and their successful implementation for achieving desired results. He advised the implementing authorities to study success stories and model plans also while formulating the action plans. He said that the interests of inhabitants of area of the wetlands should be protected and added that stakeholders and local people should be taken into confidence while chalking out the management plans.

Chief Secretary said that there were 92 wetlands in the State covering 2.25 hectares area, out of which 85 were natural and 7 man-made which constituted one percent of the total geographical area. He said that Pong Dam Lake, Chandratal and Renuka have been identified as Ramsar Sites whereas Rewalsar and Khajiar lakes under National Wetlands. He said that Government of India had sanctioned Rs 91.53 lakhs for Pong Dam Lake, Rs 1.70 crore for Renuka, Rs 1.10 crore for Rewalsar and Rs 78.25 lakhs for Khajiar for implementation of Management Plans during 2012-17. He further said that Bhrigu and Seruvalsar Lakes (Kullu), Nako Lake (Kinnaur), Parashar Lake (Mandi), Manimahesh Lake (Chamba) and Chandernaun Lake (Shimla) were the new proposed Wetlands.

Roy said that Wetlands have important bio-diversity values apart from direct consumptive use values for human and have important regulatory role in soil and water conservation. He said that the State had therefore constituted the State level Steering Committee for Wetlands under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary for examining the action plan and to review the progress of activities taken in respect of Wetlands identified under National Wetland Conservation Programme.

Dr S.Kaul, Advisor Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India gave some valuable inputs regarding preparation of Comprehensive Management Action Plans for Wetlands. He suggested demarcating Research and Development activities besides formulating multi discipline projects for management of Wetlands.

Dr Nagin Nanda Secretary cum Director Environment, Science and Technology apprised the Chief Secretary about the progress of conversation and management of Wetlands. 1395Members of the Committee, Officers of Forest department, State Council for Science Technology and Environment and other departments also attended the meeting.

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