World Wetlands Day in India

22/02/2007

Punjab



Report on World Wetlands Day

Kheti Virasat, Punjab, India observed WWD at three wetlands of Punjab. Harike, wetland which is one of the first six ramsar sites of India, attracts a large number of migratory waterfowls as far as from Arctic Circle. This year the students of D.A.V. College, Amritsar and members of Art of Living - A spiritual society were taken to the Harike wetland where they observed rich flora and fauna of the wetland particularly migratory birds. Mr. Chander Parkash from Kheti Virasat helped the members of both the institutions in identifying the birds and told them about the history of the Harike wetland. He explained them about the functions and values of the Harike wetland and importance of the wetland as major habitat for about 65 species of fish which are found in the wetland of which 12 are identified as threatened fish species. He took the members of AOL and students of DAV College to the various areas of the wetland where problems like weeds, water pollution, and encroachments were shown to the visitors. They also discussed the problems with local wildlife officials. Then the visitors also met the people of villages fall in and around Harike wetland and listened their problems regarding wetlands.

Kheti Virasat, Punjab also organized a function to mark WWD at one of the natural wetland named Lobana Teku in Patiala district. There a function was organized in Lobana teku village where village heads and members of Panchayati Raj Institutions and village youth participated. Mr. Chander Parkash and Mr. Surinder Singh from Kheti Virasat made the villagers aware about the values of wetlands and biodiversity respectively. The prompted the villagers to take a community based project to clean and manage the Lobana Teku wetland. After the meeting all the village heads and youth decided to call a meeting of Gram Sabha (All the elected members and residents of village) and pass a resolution to take immediate steps to conserve the wetland. Mr. Chander Parkash told the villagers that a concrete community based wetland management plan will be chalked out where local villagers, experts from Kheti Virasat along with the help of few government departments will develop the Lobana teku wetland as a model wetland. They decided to plant more trees all along the wetland and develop ecotourism which will help in conservation and better management of the wetland and on other side will generate employment for the unemployed youth of the Lobana Teku village.


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