Special Correspondent

JAIPUR: A regulatory regime for wetlands in the country on the basis of their usage is in the offing. The wetlands are to be regulated at Central, State and district levels for which separate regulatory authorities would be constituted. The State Governments have been asked to get additional documentation done by expert agencies on the criteria for regulation.

“The draft report of notification for regulatory regime on wetlands is ready. However, what is needed is getting an institutional mechanism for the monitoring process,” said the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Namo Narain Meena, addressing a two-day national seminar on wetland conservation that began here on Wednesday under the auspices of the Social Policy Research Institute (SPRI).

The seminar had been organised to work on strategies and policy options on wetlands and their conservation with special reference to Keoladeo Ghana National Park and Sambhar Lake, two Ramsar sites in Rajasthan.

“There is an urgent need to regulate the wetlands on the basis of their usage,” said Mr. Meena pointing out that MoEF had initiated steps for identification of major wetlands for conservation.

Mr. Meena said the number of wetlands identified as per the norms of the International Ramsar Convention, 1971, had increased to 94 covering 23 States and one Union Territory in 2006 against 27 in 2004. So far Rs.58.28 crore has been released for the conservation of wetlands while the Eleventh Five Year Plan would have it increased to Rs.90 crore, he said.

Former Chief Minister S.C. Mathur, who is the founder-chairman of SPRI, presiding over the inaugural session, said the Centre was passing the buck by leaving the process of monitoring of wetlands to the States.