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Himachal

Posted at: Feb 13, 2018, 12:24 AM; last updated: Feb 13, 2018, 12:24 AM (IST)

Running seaplanes in wetlands opposed

Kuldeep Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, February 12

Bird watchers, fishermen and conservationists are up in arms against the state government’s plan of running seaplanes in inland waterways in wetlands that are already facing depletion due to climate change.

They cited studies in support of their opposition to run seaplanes and roros — transport vehicle carriers floated by former Transport Minister GS Bali to develop waterways in wetlands.

“Taking cue from Goa, Kerala and Gujarat, businessmen are pressuring the government into running commercial activities in wetlands,” a source said.

The BJP government is now trying to run seaplanes in major wetlands that cover 98,496 hectare area.

Conservationists said dry spells, flash floods and depleting glaciers had added to the depletion of wetlands over the years. “These commercial activities will ruin them completely,” they said.

Goa, Kerala and Gujarat have an open access to sea that makes the waterways a natural choice there. “But to run seaplanes or roros in inland wetlands in Himachal will end up as eco-disaster. Instead we should work to make the lives of the locals comfortable by running camping, water supports, birdwatching and angling in wetlands,” said Ranjiv Bharti, who runs an NGO to conserve fish and wild animals in the state.

Running seaplanes in wetlands will disturb the habitat of the birds.

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