Rs 1,000 crore released for conservation of 160 wetlands: Govt

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New Delhi, Jul 20 (PTI) Over Rs 1,000 crore has been released for the conservation of 160 wetlands in the country under the National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA), the government informed Parliament.

In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on whether the number of lakes and ponds have declined substantially across the country over the last 10 years, Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey said developmental activities and anthropogenic pressures do affect water bodies.

'While the central and state governments take all possible steps for the restoration, conservation and preservation of lakes and wetlands, developmental activities and anthropogenic pressures do affect water bodies,' the minister informed the Upper House of Parliament on Monday.

On government schemes to save, conserve or revive such lakes, he said the Centre has so far released its share of Rs 1,046.53 crore for the conservation of 160 wetlands in the country under the NPCA.

“The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is currently implementing a centrally sponsored scheme, namely National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA), for conservation and management of identified wetlands (includes lakes) in the country on cost sharing basis between the central government and respective state governments.

“Under the NPCA scheme, the central assistance is based on the proposals received from the State Governments, conformity with the guidelines and budget availability. Accordingly, so far, the ministry has sanctioned projects for conservation of 160 wetlands in the country and released an amount of about Rs 1,046.53 crore as central share,” he said.

The NPCA is a single conservation programme for both wetlands and lakes. It is a centrally-sponsored scheme, currently being implemented by the environment ministry, and was formulated in 2015 by merging of the National Lake Conservation Plan and the National Wetlands Conservation Programme.

It covers various activities such as interception, diversion and treatment of wastewater, shoreline protection, lakefront development, in-situ cleaning like desilting and de-weeding, stormwater management, bioremediation, catchment area treatment, lake beautification, survey & demarcation, bio-fencing, fisheries development, weed control, biodiversity conservation, education and awareness creation, community participation, etc.

'Further, in order to supplement the efforts of the state governments, the Ministry of Jal Shakti provides technical and financial assistance to the state governments to encourage sustainable development and efficient management of water resources through various schemes and programmes such as Surface Minor Irrigation (SMI), Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies Schemes etc. under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) -- Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP),' the minister said. PTI AG SMN SMN

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