Strong protests have been registered against the scheme in the Integrated District Development Plan (IDDP) for Kollam that proposes to cull cormorants by shooting them down in order to increase the fish

wealth of the inland water bodies. The scheme has been mentioned on page number 57 of the IDDP executive plan that was formally released by the Finance Minister, T.M. Thomas Isaac.

The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) plans moving the court if the scheme is implemented. A.G. Babu, AWBI member told THE HINDU that the scheme is one that challenges the law of the land. He said that

little cormorants come under Schedule 1V of the Wildlife Protection Act.

Mr. Babu said that on the basis of the report about the scheme that appeared in THE HINDU on Monday, the AWBI submitted a complaint against the scheme to the Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), K.P. Ouseph. While plan report states that the scheme will be implemented by the Fisheries Department in coordination with the Forest Department, Mr. Ouseph told AWBI that the Forest Department was not informed anything about such a scheme.

Environmental activist N. Ravi said that the scheme appears both shocking and preposterous. He said he is confident that the Forest Department will reject the scheme. The IDDP report has inflated the cormorant population. It is also a foolish version that cormorants are a major cause for the depletion of fish wealth in inland water bodies, said professor Ravi.

P.O. Nameer, State coordinator of Asian Waterfowl Census (AWC) said that the scheme, if implemented, will prove to be disastrous. It is also a fact that the scheme cannot be implemented since it is against the

law. The figure of one lakh little cormorant population in Kollam district given in the IDDP report appears far fetched.

Mr. Nameer said that the AWC has been regularly taking the census of water birds in the State for the past ten years. According to the AWC data the little cormorant population in the State has never crossed

10,000. In fact, in the whole of Asia the population of the little cormorant is in the vicinity of 2.80 lakh.

M.N. Jayachandran, president of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Idukki District said that he has also submitted a complaint to Mr. Ouseph against the scheme. He said that the scheme is one that will upset the ecological balance. Though the scheme has been mentioned in the IDDP for Kollam it cannot be implemented since it is against the law of the land, he said.

Keywords: KeralaKollam IDDP

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