Centre tweaks wetland rules, opens up salt pans for development
The Union ministry of environment and forests has tweaked the Wetland Rules, 2017, and deleted salt pans from the definition of ‘wetland’. The decision was taken in consultation with all coastal states which have large areas under salt pans and were keen to develop them.
The new rules state: “Wetland means an area of marsh, fen, peatland or water; whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters, but does not include river channels, paddy fields, human-made water bodies/tanks specifically constructed for drinking water purposes and structures specifically constructed for aquaculture, salt production, recreation and irrigation purposes.”
It also says wetland rules will not apply to wetlands falling in areas covered under the Indian Forest Act, 1927, the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, the State Forest Acts and the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011. Salt pans are covered under the coastal regulation zone (CRZ).