Itanagar, Dec 4 (IANS) Voicing concern over the reported decrease in the area of wetlands in Arunachal Pradesh in the last ten years, Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Wednesday stressed on the need for conservation and management through a proper policy.
“Once these water bodies are identified and mapped, we can notify these through the State Wetland Authority and work on conservation and management through the centrally sponsored scheme of National Wetlands Conservation Programme,” Khandu said addressing the 2nd State Wetland Authority (SWA) meeting.
Quoting Forest Survey of India Report 2017, he said that Arunachal Pradesh has witnessed a decrease of 195 square km in the water body coverage within forests as compared to 2005.
Khandu said the cause for decrease in water bodies within forest cover has been attributed to degradation of catchment areas of many rivers/water bodies due to ‘jhum’ (slash-and-burn) cultivation, landslides, encroachment, deforestation and other developmental activities.
Though, the State Remote Sensing Application Centre report of 2010-11 noted that Arunachal Pradesh has 852.54 square kms of total geographical area under water, which includes 790.012 square kms of rivers and 62.53 square kms of lakes and ponds, the Chief Minister, however, said, these water bodies are yet to be officially identified and mapped in line with the provisions of the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules.
He also observed that as the nodal agency the state’s Environment and Forest Department needs to work on conservation and management of the wetlands beginning with identification, survey and mapping of all water bodies in the state.
Khandu suggested that help may be taken from the State Remote Sensing Application Centre, which is already working in geo tagging and mapping of state’s geographical features and assets.