Aug. 8: Dispur has given the green signal for setting up Guwahati Waterbodies Regulatory Authority to protect wetlands from being converted for other purposes.

Say over 90 acres of wetlands converted in the last one decade

The controversy over the proposed private international airport project at Aranmula has taken curious turns with the Cabinet decision to regularise conversion of paddy fields and wetlands that have taken place prior to 2005 as well as the clearances reportedly given by various government agencies for the project, allegedly violating prevailing laws, rules and regulations.

Reclamation of paddy fields and wetland and razing of hills are rampant in the State, chairman of Assembly committee on environment C.P. Mohammed has said.

After tabling a report of the committee in the Assembly on Wednesday, Mr. Mohammed told reporters that the officers of the Revenue Department were shirking their responsibility of enforcing the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act.

Sensors would be installed at 10 strategic locations in the Chilika lake as a part of the monitoring system to telemetrically transmit data to the research centre on real time basis, every 15 minut

An expert committee set up by the Environment Department, Government of West Bengal released a draft policy on wetlands, which suggests that filling up of water bodies should be prohibited by the state government.

States with abundant natural resources and less economic activity are environmentally most sustainable in India, while it is just the opposite in the case of those with high intensity of economic activities, according to the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) here.

The Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) for Indian States 2011, a study by the Centre for Development Finance under the 1970-founded IFMR, notes that the index for two years — 2009 and 2011 — shared this common characteristic.

A meeting of environmentalists held here on Tuesday to discuss the Draft National Water Policy (2012) called for a campaign against moves to turn water into a commodity.

The meeting was organised by the Salim Ali Foundation, Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishath, Centre of Science and Technology for Rural Development (COSTFORD) and the Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshana Samithy. The meeting called for a serious review of the draft policy. Former Water Resources Minister N. K. Premachandran said that water was described as a commodity at four places in the draft policy.

The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) has announced that, following the approval by the Standing Committee of the draft resolutions for consideration by the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP 11), the Secretariat has finalized all the draft resolutions.

Conservation and wise use of wetlands has been given priority world over. India harbours diverse types of wetlands. This study highlights the findings of the national-level inventory and assessment of wetlands carried out using RESOURCESAT-1 LISS-III data of 2006–07 at 1 : 50,000 scale. A hierarchical system comprising 19 classes based on Ramsar definition has been used to classify the wetlands of India. The extent of wetlands has been estimated to be 15.26 m ha. Inland wetlands account for 69.22% (10.564 m ha), whereas the coastal wetlands account for 27.13% (4.14 m ha).

The Yashoram Infra Developers Private Limited has informed the Kerala High Court that the implementation of the proposed sky city project would not cause any damage to coastal ecosystems or the backwater system in the city.

In an affidavit, the company said that no reclamation of backwaters or wetland was needed. The affidavit said that there was no violation of Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2000. Sky city project envisaged construction of two flyovers over the Chilavanoor backwaters.

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