A forum to champion the cause of marshlands came into being here on Saturday. Christened the Nilgiris District Marshlands Conservation Movement, it was floated by the Public Awareness Association of Udhagamandalam at a gathering of environmental and social activists on a piece of marshland near the Central Bus Stand which has been chosen for the construction of a parking facility.

Addressing the gathering, president of the Makkal Satta Maiyam and leader of the movement K. Vijayan said that failure to protect swamps will lead to severe water problems.

President of the association G. Janardhanan said that the proposal to put up the parking lot on the marshland should be dropped as the destruction of such places will have a cascading effect on the environment of this ecologically sensitive hill station. Toda leader Vaasamalli said that such movements were the need of the hour as environment related problems are on the rise.

Manjai V. Mohan, president, Academy for Badaga Culture, said that swamps should be preserved. Retired headmaster H. Rajubettan also spoke. The movement resolved to seek judicial intervention if the move to construct the parking lot was not dropped.