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Dheeraj Gupta chairs World Wetlands Day celebration at Surinsar

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JAMMU: Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Forest, Dheeraj Gupta, presided over the World Wetlands Day celebration at Surinsar Lake, a Ramsar Site.

ACS visited stalls established by the Central University Jammu, Institute of Mountain Environment, Bhaderwah Campus and Wildlife Department. The display showcased the wetland diversity of J&K besides highlighting the role being played by wetlands in human wellbeing. Also, on display were photographs of migratory birds of wetlands captured by the ornithologists and the modern equipment used by the Department in census, survey, rescue and management of wildlife.

The event witnessed oath-taking by NGOs, PRI members, departmental officials, senior citizens, faculty and students of educational institutions regarding the preservation and protection of wetlands.

Dheeraj Gupta called for the preparation of a master plan for Surinsar Mansar Wetlands in consultation with all relevant stakeholders including PRIs, tourism development authorities, agriculture, industry and commerce and Forest and Wildlife Departments.

ACS urged upon the people to support the wildlife department in the conservation of the Surinsar-Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary and the wetland which are vital for local ecology, agriculture, horticulture, tourism and other economic activities. He listened to the concerns of representatives of PRIs regarding various approvals required for the execution of development works. He asked the development agencies to apply for regulatory clearances well in time.

Chief Wildlife Warden, Sarvesh Rai, apprised the participants of various activities of the department being undertaken for the conservation of the Surinsar-Mansar sanctuary and the wetland. This included measures for reducing silt load, removal of weeds, improvement of littoral zone and development of basking sites for turtles. He informed that similar events are being held today at the Gharana, Hokersar, Shallbugh, Hygam and Wular wetlands.

NGO member, Nazir-Be-Nazir and Professor Institute of Mountain Environment, Bhaderwah Campus, Dr Neeraj Sharma also spoke about the need for the involvement of various stakeholders in the conservation of the wetlands.

The event was attended by Roshan Jaggi, PCCF and HoFF, Senthil Kumar, APCCF, Ramesh Kumar, CCF Jammu, Dr. M.K. Kumar, Regional Wildlife Warden, Jammu, Mohan Das, CF East, Vijay Kumar, Wildlife Warden, Kathua, Kusum Salaria, President Women Era, Dr. Vinita Sharma, Dr. Pankaj Chandan, Director NDF, Research Scholars, PRI members, prominent citizens and students.

The event ended with the flagging off of a walkathon by Dheeraj Gupta.

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