The Department of Wildlife Protection J&K today issued a rebuttal in reference to a news item published in ‘Early Times’ newspaper with headline ‘Hokersar loses 20000 kanals of land to encroachers, set to lose Ramsar status’.
As per the statement issued by Wildlife Warden,Wetlands Division, Kashmir, Srinagar, the department has termed the news report as wrong, devoid of facts, unverified and misleading.
The Wildlife Warden has made it clear through an official statement that that Hokersar is not losing the status of a Ramsar Site nor has it lost 20000 kanals of land to encroachers.
He said on the contrary, Hokersar Wetland was recently demarcated by a joint team of Revenue, Forest Demarcation Division, Forest PI Division and Wildlife Department officials and the digitally demarcated and delineated Map arrived at is signed by all the stakeholder Departments.
The Wildlife Warden said that by virtue of the generated map on GIS platform Hokersar Wetland comprises 13.54 Sq.Kms i.e 1354 Ha i.e 27080 Kanals of land within the demarcated peripheries. The extent of area is in consonance with the archives of forest demarcation record of the 1960’s form one which substantiates todays area figures as well.
He said however, as mentioned in the Form one of the old Demarcation record there are some chaks inside the Hokersar Wetland Reserve at the time of its notification which continues to be verified and authenticated by the revenue officials as on today.
He further said that it was very recently that the Department of Wildlife Protection J&K has started the exercise of physically demarcating the peripheral limits of Hokersar Wetland by installing the Demarcation pillars at the digitally delineated points. Once this exercise is completed those found exercising any rights illegally within such demarcated limits shall be evicted, the process of issuing notices in favour of such offenders has been initiated.
The statement read that further on GIS platform land use and land cover map and satellite imageries hardly shows any settlements within the demarcated limits of this wetland.