New Delhi, May 23 (Calcutta Tube) The central government is planning to set up a legally enforceable regulatory mechanism for conservation of wetlands, a senior official of the environment ministry said Sunday.
‘There is no legislation which creates a formal set up for conservation of wetlands in the country,’ he said.
‘Recognising the value of wetlands, the National Environment Policy (NEP), 2006, seeks to set up a legally enforceable regulatory mechanism to prevent their degradation and enhance their conservation and wise use by all stakeholders,’ he said.
A wetland is a piece of land in which the soil is saturated with moisture either permanently or seasonally. Such areas may also be covered partially or completely by shallow pools of water.
Wetlands are vital parts of hydrological cycle, support exceptionally large biological diversity and facilitate fibre waste assimilation, water purification, flood mitigation, erosion control, ground water recharge and micro climate regulation.
The draft prohibits conversion of wetland into non-wetland area, expansion or establishment of industry, dumping of waste or soil, and any permanent construction except boat jetty. Prior permission will be needed for constituting boat jetties, withdrawal of water, harvesting resources and for plying motorized boats.
‘Categorisation of wetlands has also been proposed. This will help in determining the extent of regulation,’ he said.
The draft categorizes wetlands in three groups. The highest priority wetlands will be in category A managed by the central wetlands regulatory authority. The B and C categories will be overseen by the state and district level authorities, respectively.
‘A wetland appraisal committee for appraising the proposals for identification of new wetlands is also proposed in the draft,’ the official said.
The draft is now on the ministry’s website for feedback.
‘The draft regulatory mechanism will be on the ministry’s website for feedback till June 21,’ the official said.