State fresh water lakes in Natl Wetlands Conservation list

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Gangtok, May 13 (UNI) A scientific team from Ministry of Forest and Environment will conduct a study tour of the lakes of Sikkim later this month to prepare wetland conservation protection action plan.

Scientists from Ministry of Forest and Environment are scheduled to arrive in Sikkim on May 24 to visit the lakes and for preparation of wetland conservation action plan, said C.Lachungpa, Conservator of Forests, state forest department.

This follows after six fresh water lake complexes of Sikkim were listed in the National Wetland Conservation List by the Centre for protection and conservation measures last year.

The listed lake complexes were Tsomgu, Guru Dongmar, Phendhang, Tamzey, Khecheopalri and Tembao, all located in the higher altitudes of the state.

Sikkim has more than 277 lakes, most of which fall in high altitude areas.

''However, these lakes do not meet the area requirements to qualify as a wetland and we have clubbed a number of lakes into a complex to fall as wetland,'' Mr.Lachungpa told UNI.

After the inclusion of the six lake complexes in the national list, small scale grants have been allocated to the state forest department for conservation purposes of the lakes.

''Conservation steps of these lakes are important as they are not snow fed or have glacial origination. If we don't take steps right now, chances are they might be deleted affecting the downstream areas,'' said Mr.Lachungpa.

Two of these-Tsomgu and Guru Dongmar-have been recommended for inclusion in the international body of Ramsar site, he said.

The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an inter-governmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

There are presently 158 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1743 wetlands known as Ramsar sites, totaling 161 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

UNI BG PL RN1717

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