Forest officials exude confidence that they will soon receive approval and works will be undertaken soon. However, activists and birders pointed out that eco-tourism should not affect the arrival of birds to the marshland.
According to Forest officials, Pallikaranai marshland is considered internationally important as it is home to several rare, endangered and threatened species. The marshland is situated very nearer to the city and acts as a forage and breeding ground for thousands of migratory waterbirds from various countries every year.
“NGOs like Care EarthTrust (CET) and Nature Trust are showing keen interest to promote this marshland for the betterment of bio-diversity and eco-tourism. Moreover, various industrialists in and around Pallikaranai wetland are also willing to involve themselves in the mammoth task of protecting the marshland,” said a Forest official.
Jayshree Vencatesan, Managing Trustee of CET, who made research on ecology, welcomed the move. “Since the marshland is one of the ecological landmarks, the eco-tourism will add a shot in the arm for both birds and visitors,” she said. When asked if such tourism will affect birds, the researcher replied, “since there will be no human movement in the wetland, the number of birds will not lessen.”
When DT Next contacted, Chief Conservator of Forests, Chennai, V Karuna Priya, she said, “We have sent a proposal on eco-tourism, and are awaiting approval.”