Terming encroachment of wetlands and their use as sewage disposal sites “disturbing”, government said on Tuesday it has taken several steps to protect such sites from rapid urbanisation and industrialisation.
Environment minister Prakash Javadekar told the Lok Sabha during Question Hour that while 115 sites have been identified as wetlands under the Wetlands Conservation Programme, it is open to add more places to the list.
He termed encroachment a “real danger” and said draft wetland rules cover the issue of erosion.
Dubbing as “actually disturbing” the use of wetland sites as dumping ground for sewage, he said wetland renewal scheme will help improve the situation.
In his written response, Javadekar said in a bid to evolve better synergy and avoid overlap, it has merged two separate programmes to conserve and protect lakes and wetlands.
So far, Rs 146.94 crore has been released to the states and other organisations for conservation and management of identified wetlands in the country, he said.
The Union government has already begun revising the existing regulatory framework on wetlands across the country in a bid to enable a greater role and ownership by state governments in their management.
The government is also working on upgrading the existing Wetland Research and Training Centre of Chilika Development Authority at Barkul in Odisha into the National Capacity Development Centre for wetlands.