Conservationists call for protection of Rifle Range

‘Plans to build housing for govt. staff could be catastrophic to the wetland’

Conservationists have called upon the district administration to shelve plans to begin construction works on a wetland in Kotagiri and help preserve it.

The wetland, known as Rifle Range, has been threatened by the spread of invasive flora as well as encroachments in the form of illegal constructions. Local residents and activists have been fighting to clean up the wetland and to prevent further encroachment of the site.

However, recent plans to build housing for government staff as well as government buildings on the wetland could be catastrophic for the environment and have implications for the water security of residents in Kotagiri town, warned K.J. Raju, secretary of the Longwood Shola Watchdog Committee.

In a petition to the District Collector, Mr. Raju called for the protection of the wetland, from where water is drawn and supplied to parts of Kotagiri town. “What remains of the previously massive wetland is only a small portion, measuring about eight acres. At least this portion needs to be left intact to ensure the availability of water for local residents, and also provide a habitat for wildlife,” said Mr. Raju.

“If the constructions come up, not only the groundwater levels will decrease substantially, but also the three functioning wells from where water is drawn by the local bodies will become polluted,” said Mr. Raju.

The Longwood Shola Watchdog Committee has also called upon the administration to remove the exotic eucalyptus trees that were planted on the wetland a few decades ago, as they consume more water.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 2:56:07 PM |

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