Tamil Nadu to put ‘priority’ tag on 141 wetlands
In an effort to keep precious wetlands free of ‘development’, the government will soon accord ‘priority’ tag to 141 such water bodies in the state including the Pallikaranai marsh and two others in the city.
Coimbatore-based Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural history (SACON), tasked with preparing a report on the area, flora, fauna, biodiversity and ecological importance of each water body, submitted the second phase of the report to the State Wetland Authority on Thursday. While 80 wetlands will be notified in the first phase, 61 will be notified in phase 2 and the final report is likely to be submitted in a few months. The state government has allocated ₹50 lakh for the study.
State Wetland Authority member secretary M Jayanthi said they were reconstituting and framing rules based on the wetlands (conservation and management) rules, 2017. “We will complete it in a month as it has to be ratified by the Centre as well. Once that is done, the report will be presented to the authority and corrections will be made. Then, wetlands will be notified as priority wetlands. We also have to select experts who will be part of the authority,” she said.
While no development can take place in a ‘priority’ wetland without the authority’s nod, ‘zones of influence’ where limited activities will be allowed will be marked out after consultations with all stakeholders. The authority will also evaluate each wetland in terms of its ecological services to help policymakers.