Department drafts proposal, urges Govt to make efforts to get prestigious recognition
The Department of Ecology, Environment and Remote Sensing (DEARS) has urged the government to make efforts to get Dal Lake declared as a potential "Ramsar site" and "UNESCO World Heritage Site".
According to the department, Dal Lake meets the requirements to be declared as a World Heritage Site.
“It supports the populations of plant and animal species which are important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular bio-geographic region,” the proposal drafted by the Department reads.
It also says that Dal Lake supports plant and animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles and provides refuge during adverse conditions.
India is a signatory to the Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, which was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971.
The convention provides a framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
There are currently 26 sites in India recognised as Ramsar wetland sites of international importance, and 4 of them are in Jammu and Kashmir.
Scientist and State Coordinator, Department of Ecology, Environment and Remote Sensing, Majid Farooq told The Rising Kashmir that Dal Lake has a great potential to be recognised as the Ramsar wetland site and UNESCO World Heritage site as it meets the criteria pertaining to flora, fauna and ecology. He said Dal Lake has the potential to mitigate the impact of climate change and provide water and food security.
Farooq said many departments have to come forward as there is a need to prepare the final documents for Dal Lake to be recognised for the Ramsar site and UNESCO World Heritage site.
“We need to prepare two final documents or dossier - one for Ramsar site and another for UNESCO world heritage site. Departments like Wildlife Department, Forest Department, Lakes and Waterways Development Authority, Urban Local Bodies Department, Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums and others have to prepare a dossier,” he said.
Farooq said declaring the Dal Lake as Ramsar sites will help it to get international attention and funding for better conservation.
According to the proposal, the major benefits of joining the Ramsar Convention shall facilitate the development at the national level of policies and actions for wise use of wetlands.
“It presents an opportunity for a country to be heard in the principal forum on conservation and wise use of wetlands. It brings increased publicity and prestige for wetlands. It encourages international cooperation on wetland, and brings access to expert advice on national and site-related problems of wetland, conservation and management,” reads a proposal.
Besides, it provides access to financial aid through the Conventions Small Grant Fund.
Environmental Lawyer, Nadeem Qadri told The Rising Kashmir that Dal Lake falls at number one in the list of National conservation of lakes plan.
“Dal meets the maximum criteria to be recognised as the Ramsar as well as UNESCO world heritage site. This is a wonderful initiative by the department. It is necessary to conserve and protect the Dal lake as it has great potential and eligibility to get international importance,” Qadri said.
However, a senior official, in the Jammu and Kashmir Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) told Rising Kashmir that if the Dal Lake will be declared as Ramsar site, there will be strict restrictions. “Even a small activity inside the Lake would be restricted,” he said.
Vice Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA), Prasanna Ramaswamy said he is aware of the initiative and he will go through the proposal which they have received.