Jaipur, Oct 3(UNI) Union Minister of state for Envirornment and Forest Namo Narayan Meena expressed serious concern over the degradation of wetlands as it is causing significant loss of bio- diversity and serious disruption in goods and services provided by the wetlands.
Speaking at a national seminar on ''Wetlands and their conservation: strategies and policy options with special reference to Rajasthan'' organsied by the Social Policy Research Institute, the minister said by using the wetland resources wisely. not only could the wetlands be conserved but economic benefits can also be derived.
He said a shining example of this is of East Kolkatta wetlands which produces 11,000 tons of fish and 5500 tons of vegitables per annum as well as provide clean water for paddy fields after treating sewage.
The minister said though there are a number of laws in existance to protect and conserve wetlands but there is no exclusive legal framework for wetlands in the country and he stressed upon the need for a regulatory mechanism to prevent their 'unacceptable' levels of degradation.
The minister called for sustained conservation efforts. He said the National Wetland Conservation Programme is an endeavour in this direction in which 100 per cent assistance to the state governments for identified wetlands.
Mr Meena said after the Ramsar convention 1971, some of the major wetlands have been identified for conservation in the country.
There were 27 wetlands in 2004 which have risen to 94 in 2006 covering 23 states and one Union Territory. He said in the 11th Plan Rs 90 crore has been earmarked for conservation adn management of wetlands.
He said from Rajasthan Keoladeo national park and Sambhar have been identified as Ramsar sites of international importance and Sambhar wetland has been identified for conservation and management under the national Wetland Conservation Programme.
Former Chief Minister of Rajasthan and founder chairman of the Social Policy Research Shiv Charan Mathur called for serious and sustained efforts for the conservation of wetlands as it has reached a point of no return.