World Wetlands Day 2004 -- India -- Corangi


World Wetland Day at Godavari Mangroves, Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India

World Wetland Day, February 2, 2004 was celebrated at Corangi village abutting the sprawling 23,000 ha. of mangroves under the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary near Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India. Nearly 300 local women (200) and men (100) who are members of Eco-Development Committee (Forest Conservation Councils) celebrated the World Wetlands Day. The World Wetland Day was organized by M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, which is implementing a Community participated Mangrove conservation Project at Kakinada. The Andhra Pradesh Forest Department, elected people's representatives and the media participated in the event which started at 10. 30 a. m. and concluded at 1.30 in the afternoon. Lunch was served to the participants after the event.

The MSSRF jointly with EDC and APFD has restored 520 ha. of degraded mangrove forests by raising mangrove nursery and planting them in blank areas. The local communities facilitated by MSSRF and APFD are protecting and managing nearly 330 sq. km. of mangrove forests in Godavari. Dr. R. Ramasubramanian, Mangrove Biologist, MSSRF, Welcomed the gathering.

The following persons spoke on the occasion

¢ Mr. P. V. Ramana Rao, Forest Range Officer, Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary spoke about the importance of wetlands in general and mangroves in particular. He said there is no water without mangroves.
¢ Mr. Raja Rao, Forest Section Officer, spoke about the activities taken by APFD and MSSRF in meeting the requirement of people on their dependency on mangroves. He recognized the role played by villagers through EDC in conserving the mangroves.
¢ Ms. Sangadi Satyamma - member, Executive Body of the Corangi-Dindu village EDC said that the forestry department has undertaken lot of development activities for the villagers. She said that "We are taking active part in managing mangroves and in fact FD and People are jointly helping each other in protecting mangroves". She acknowledged the help rendered by FD to the local people.
¢ Mr. Anjibabu, EDC Chairman said that the fishery population has drastically been reduced due to aqua farms.
¢ Mr. Arjuna Rao Member EDC said that "We realized the importance of mangroves very lately, however now we are raising mangroves. We will certainly conserve mangroves".
¢ Mr. Lakshmana Rao, Village President, applauded the role played by MSSRF and APFD in conservation of mangroves. He also emphasized the need for greater role from the people in sustainably managing the mangroves. He said that mangroves alone can make us healthy and wealthy. He also said that the FD should select better places for planting trees under aforestation programs. He also said that with self-motivated interest the local people have undertaken lot of activities in the conservation of mangroves. The people also could interact with officials and people representative on development activities and mangrove conservation aspects.

Finally concluding the World Wetland Day celebrations Dr. T. Ravishankar, Associated Director, said that it all started at Ramsar, Iran in 1971 when the Convention on Wetlands was signed on February, 2nd which has since been celebrated every year. He emphasized the need for communicated participated mangrove conservation and management, which the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation has been implementing through a project in this area. He said that the MSSRF has developed guidelines for Joint Mangrove Management with social and technical package for the conservation of mangroves. He said that every one should collectively undertake the responsibility of mangrove conservation as mangrove conservation movement.

Mr. T. Sathyanarayana, Forest Guard, paid vote of thanks.

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