Kanjli Wetland: A tale of Punjab government’s apathy
Kanjli wetland, once a world-famous picnic place, is now a classic example of government neglect. The isolated place is now covered with wild vegetation, bushes, and plants accompanied by packets of cigarette, tobacco and used syringes.
The site got recognition in 2012 under the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and utilisation of wetlands in shambles.
Till 2004, the wetland was a well-maintained spot with a boating point. Owing to the careless attitude of government no development has taken place and a couple of swan boats are also in a sorry state. Also weeds have covered the compound that hosts a few swings and a restaurant.
Previously Padma Shri awardee Balbir Singh Seechewal had taken up the matter of the wetland’s renovation and cleanliness of Kali Bein river before the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) and state government.
Spread over 183 hectares, the wetland has religious importance as it is a part of the Kali Bein, a holy rivulet associated with Guru Nanak Dev. The wetland came into existence in 1870 with the construction of head works on the rivulet. It was also famous for Baisakhi fair.
Owing to the pollution in Kali Bein the number of migratory birds coming to the place is on a decline. Apart from Kanjli wetland, Satluj wetland in Ropar and Hari-Ke-Pattan in Amritsar are the only three recognised wetlands in state. PPCB Jalandhar division environmental engineer Ashok Kumar Garg could not be reached for comments.
Kapurthala deputy commissioner Mohammad Tayyab said, “The matter is under consideration and Punjab tourism department will also hold a meeting with administration on June 7 to consider plans to restore the wetland.”
Anand Sharma, 62, a retired teacher and Kapurthala resident said, “ I used to come here with family for picnic during weekends.The government has ignored this wetland which was earlier beautiful.”
Amit Sharma, 22, a student, said, “The place is in shamble now and has become a haven for drug addicts.”