Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University Katra in collaboration with Directorate of Tourism, Jammu celebrated World Wetlands Day at Surinsar Lake which is a designated Ramsar site. On the occasion, keynote lecture was delivered by Padma Shri Prof RK Sinha, Vice Chancellor SMVDU. Prof Sinha popularly known as the Dolphin Man of India, emphasized the importance of water bodies like Surinsar Lake in providing assured drinking water supply, ground water recharging besides providing refuge to flora and fauna. He stressed the need for preserving wetlands in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir for providing shelter to both the local and migratory birds and ensuring food chain health. Prof. Sinha highlighted the cultural and social significance of the wetlands especially Surinsar and Mansar Lakes in Jammu region. He exhorted the younger generation to work for wetlands protection so as to protect aesthetic and Tourism aspects. He also highlighted that lack of conservation of wetlands can have harmful consequences on aspects like climate change mitigation, water-food security, disaster management etc. Prof. Sinha emphasized the need for preserving the wetlands for sustainable development and avoiding ill effects of climate change and consumerism. A lake walk around the Surinsar Lake was undertaken by faculty members, research scholars and students from School of Biotechnology, SMVDU under the guidance of Prof. R.K. Sinha. The participants enjoyed the scenic beauty around the place and sighted wild birds and rare turtles.Dr. Ratna Chandra, Head, School of Biotechnology spoke about the need for preserving the wetlands and water bodies of UT of Jammu and Kashmir and highlighted the importance of World Wetlands Day and explained the historic perspective and its significance. She called upon the young bird watchers to be ambassadors of nature conservation.
Ved Prakash, CEO Surinsar Mansar Development Authority who was the Guest of honour. He informed the audience about the steps taken by SMDA to preserve Sunisar- Mansar Lakes and its importance in generating tourism related income for the local economy.Earlier the programme started with the welcome address by the coordinator of the event Dr. Shafaq Rasool, Faculty member, School of Biotechnology. A debate and poster competition on the topic “it is the time for wetland restoration” was held and awards were distributed to the winners. Faculty members and students of SoBT, staff and locals also participated in the event. The program concluded with formal vote of thanks presented by the Event Co-Cordinator Dr. Sharada Potukuchi.”World Wetlands Day is celebrated each year on 2nd February to raise awareness about wetlands. This day also marks the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, which was adopted as an international treaty in 1971. The UT of J&K has five Ramsar sites i.e., Mansar-Surinsar, Hokersar, Wullar, Hygam and Shallbugh. These Ramsar Sites are wetlands of international importance.