In a region mired in conflict, it takes all the more courage, and perseverance to be the voice of the voiceless and to separate facts from propaganda. Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

Jammu wetlands, home to migratory birds, about to be lost

Srinagar, Sep 18: Once attracting lakhs of migratory birds, several wetlands of Jammu region are about to vanish.
At least five wetlands of the region—Pargwal, Kokerian, Sangral, Gharana, and Nanga—are about to be lost, forcing the birds to migrate to other places.
“Nanga stands completely vanished. Kokerian and Pargwal have been encroached upon,” a source said.
After hue and cry by the stakeholders, these wetlands were transferred to the Wildlife Department in 1981, but the move didn’t make any difference.
“When the possession was transferred, they were in a good condition. At present, they are in a pathetic state,” said an environmentalist, Bhushan Lal Parimoo.
“As per the records, the Wildlife Department is to preserve them, the fact many people are unaware of.”
He said the boundaries of these wetlands have not been demarcated, even as the encroachments have rendered them unfit for “the animals and plants found nowhere else”.
He said, “River Chenab, its tributaries Tawi and Basantar, resulted in the formation of these five wetlands in Pargwal, spread over 49.27 sq kms (Akhnoor), Kokerian 27 sq kms (Gho- Mansa-Gharana) 1600 kanals, Sangra spread over 10.68 sq kms (R.S. Pura) and Nanga spread over 1.28 sq kms (Ramgarh),”said Parimoo.
He said the wetlands used to receive a “good volume” of water during floods.
“Chenab runs wild during floods, inundating its flood plain areas. Pargwal used to bear brunt of its furry, rendering a large area marshy and water logged,” he said.
“Tawi joins it near Kokrian, together sweeps Kokerian and adjoining area of Tawi, inundates Makwal, Suwanjana, Bella, thereafter opening Sangral, Gharana, last Basantar used to feed Nanga in Ramgarh sector.”
Parimoo said the directions passed by the former-Governor N N Vohra with regard to preservation of these wetlands were not honoured.
“Vohra visited Gharana in September 2010 and asked for its preservation. There are standard procedures for management, practices, utility and maintenance of rivers, streams and lakes adjacent to wetlands and water bodies,” he said.
Parimoo said the importance of wetlands was immense and varied.
Chief Wildlife Warden J&K, Ravi Kesar, said that some technical issues have been hampering their maintenance.
“We have taken up the matter with the concerned deputy commissioners and the divisional commissioner. After demarcation, we will undertake the preservation,” he said.