Kashmir Indepth

Annihilation of Hokersar restricts migratory birds to visit famed wetland’

Irfan Ahmad
Srinagar Dec 15 (KINS): The “annihilation” of Hokersar is restricting the migratory birds to visit Kashmir’s famed wetland, says a government document.
Every year, migratory birds come from Siberia, Central Asia and European Countries here to escape from the harsh chill in their inhabitants.
The official document says that the human intervention and vagaries of weather have caused “annihilation” to Hokersar, which restricts migratory birds to visit the famed wetland.
“There is a desired the need for its preservation and restoration to its pristine glory being sojourn to the migratory birds, visiting the valley from Siberia, Central Asia, etc during winters,” the document reads.
Situated on city outskirts, Hokersar till a few decades ago was known as the ‘Queen of Wetlands’.  Hokersar is an important refuge for migratory waterfowls, shorebirds and trans-Himalayan species during winters. It also acts as one of the major flood absorption basins.
However, without any preservation measures over the years, the Hokersar has been pushed to the verge of extinction over the years.
An official of Wild Life Department told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS) said that influx of sewage and solid waste from flood spill channel has led to “deterioration” of the Hokarsar’s condition.
He said earlier a committee was also framed headed by district development commissioners of Srinagar and Budgam for its preservation. The committee had members from Wildlife Department, Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Rakhs and Farms.
“The committee was directed to carry out the demarcation on urgent basis and completed within the shortest possible time,” the official said.
The official said that Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Department was also directed to construct hydraulic gates at the entry and exit points of Hokerkar wetland in order to maintain minimum water level in the wetland.
“He was directed to dispose of the dredged material outside the periphery of Hokersar wetland and some of it shall be utilize for raising and strengthening of the bunds but very little has been done on the ground,” the official said.
The official said the Director Housing and Urban Development Department was directed to ensure complete ban on the dumping of solid waste on the banks of Hokersar wetland and the respective district development commissioners shall monitor the progress.
Owing to its immense ecological value, Hokersar has been declared as Conservation Reserve under the Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1978. It was also declared as Ramsar site on November 8, 2005 under the Ramsar Convention. India is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention— an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands. (KINS)

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