A recent audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pointed out illegal construction and violations of environmental norms in two Ramsar sites in West Bengal, the East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW) and the Sunderbans.
What is ‘East Kolkata Wetland’?
- The EKW, a unique peri-urban ecosystem that lies on the eastern fringes of Kolkata, covers an area of about 12,500 hectares.
- It is spread over 37 mouzas of the State’s South and North 24 Parganas districts.
What does the report say?
- The CAG report pointed out that failure to delineate boundaries of the EKW and uncontrolled transfer of land resulted in its change of character and lack of effective action by the EKWMA (East Kolkata Wetland Management Authority).
- In absence of effective measures by EKWMA, waterbodies were dried up and filled illegally. Since 2007, EKWMA has identified 357 cases of violation, out of which 101 cases were identified between December 2015 and March 2020, the audit said.
About Sunderbans –
- It comprises hundreds of islands and a network of rivers, tributaries and creeks in the delta of the Ganga and the Brahmaputra at the mouth of the Bay of Bengal in India and Bangladesh.
- Located on the southwestern part of the delta, the Indian Sunderbans constitutes over 60% of the country’s total mangrove forest area.
- It is the 27th Ramsar Site in India, and with an area of 4,23,000 hectares is now the largest protected wetland in the country.
- Indian Sunderban is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger.