Ramsar tag for Nanjarayan lake, Longwood Shola likely
CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu already boasts of 14 Ramsar sites, highest in the country, and is further planning to tag another two wetlands - the Nanjarayan Lake in Tirupur district and Longwood Shola Reserve Forest in The Nilgiris district. A proposal in this regard has been sent to the Central government.
Deepak Srivastava, member-secretary of the Tamil Nadu State Wetland Authority, said that a proposal has been sent as part of the Tamil Nadu Wetland Mission under which measures have been taken to continue sustainable wetland conservation efforts. “The proposal for Nanjarayan Lake and Longwood Shola Reserve Forest is under consideration of the Central government, which in turn will send it to the Ramsar Secretariat,” he explained.
He added that the State is in the process of identifying another five wetlands to be announced as Ramsar sites and district wetland management committees will identify them. “Once identified, these proposals will also be sent to the Central government.” Speaking in a conference recently, Supriya Sahu, Secretary for State Environment, Forest and Climate Change Department, said that in the last few months, 13 wetlands in TN have been announced as Ramsar sites and measures have been taken to announce seven other wetlands. “Earlier, there was only one Ramsar site in the State that was announced 20 years ago,” she had said. Kodiakkarai was the only Ramsar site in the state before the current government took over.
In September, a GO was issued announcing 128 acres of Nanjarayan Lake as the 17th bird sanctuary of Tamil Nadu. On the other hand, a portion of Longwood Shola Reserve Forest in Kotagiri is a marsh.
“The Central government is not accepting Longwood Shola Reserve Forest as a wetland and the State wetland authority is trying to convince them. However, forwarding the proposal to Ramsar Secretariat will take some time as the Centre recently took efforts to announce 26 Ramsar sites (including 13 in TN),” a source said.