TAMIL NADU STATE WETLAND AUTHORITY

In a major decision, the Union Environment Ministry notified the new Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017 on 26 Sept. 2017 replacing the 2010 version of the rules.

The new rules stipulate setting up of a State Wetlands Authority in each State and union territories that will be headed by the State’s environment minister and include a range of government officials. They will also include one expert each in the fields of wetland ecology, hydrology, fisheries, landscape planning and socioeconomics to be nominated by the state government.

The State authorities will also need to prepare a list of all wetlands of the State or union territory within three months, a list of wetlands to be notified within six months, a comprehensive digital inventory of all wetlands within one year which will be updated every ten years.

To oversee the work carried out by States, the rules stipulates for setting up of National Wetlands Committee, which will be headed by the MoEF&CC Secretary, to monitor implementation of these rules. The Committee will also advise the Central Government on appropriate policies and action programmes for conservation and wise use of wetlands, recommend designation of wetlands of international importance under Ramsar Convention, advise on collaboration with international agencies on issues related to wetlands etc.

The Central Government considered it necessary to supersede the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 for effective conservation and management of wetlands in the country.

The Government of India made (Wetlands Conservation and Management) Rules 2017. As per the Wetlands (Conservation & Management) Rules 2017, the Government has reconstituted the “Tamil Nadu State Wetland Authority” under the chairmanship of the Hon’ble Minister (Forests) vide G.O. (Ms).No. 148, Environment and Forests (FR5) Department, dated 26.11.2018.

Composition of Tamil Nadu State Wetland Authority

(i) Hon’ble Minister (Forests) Chairperson
(ii) Chief Secretary to Government Vice – Chairperson
(iii) Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary/Secretary to Government, Environment and Forests Department Member ex-officio
(iv) Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary/Secretary to Government, Housing and Urban Development Department Member ex-officio
(v) Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary/Secretary to Government, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department Member ex-officio
(vi) Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary/Secretary to Government, Public Works Department Member ex-officio
(vii) Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary/Secretary to Government, Animal Husbandary, Dairying and Fisheries Department Member ex-officio
(viii) Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary/Secretary to Government, Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments Department Member ex-officio
(ix) Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary/Secretary to Government, Revenue and Disaster Management Department Member ex-officio
(x) Member Secretary, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board Member ex-officio
(xi) Professor and Director, Institute of Remote Sensing, Anna University Member ex-officio
(xii) Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Member ex-officio
(xiii) Member Secretary, Tamil Nadu State Bio-diversity Board Member ex-officio
(xiv) Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of the Regional Office of Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Member ex-officio
(xv) Under clause (xvii) of the Rule 5(1) of the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017 One expert each in the fields of Ecology, Hydrology, Fisheries, Landscape Planning and Socio-economics:

(1). Dr. Balaji Narasimhan, Associate Professor, Environment and Water Resources Engineering Division, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai ( Expert in Hydrology)

(2). Dr. Goplakrishnan, Director, Central Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi (Expert in Fisheries)

c. Dr. R. Jaganathan, Professor and Head, Land Management, Geospatial Technology, Environment Change Department of Geography, University of Madras, Chennai- 600 005. (Expert in Landscape Planning)

d. Dr. L. Venkatachalam, Professor (RBI Chair), Madras Institute of Developmental Studies, 79, II nd, Main Road, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar, Chennai- 600 020. (Expert in Socio-economics)

e. Dr. JayshreeVencatesan, Managing Trustee, Care Earth Trust, Shrinivas, No.5, 21st Street, Thillaiganga Nagar, Chennai – 600 061. (Expert in Wetland Ecology)
Members
(xvi) Chief Conservator of Forests ( Wildlife ) Member Secretary

As per G.O.(Ms),No.137, Environment and Forests (FR.5) Department dated 19.11.2019, the following three members were co-opted to the Tamil Nadu State Wetland Authority as per rule 5 (3) of the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017:-


1) Additional Chief Secretary / Principal Secretary / Secretary to Government, Finance Department
2) Agriculture Production Commissioner/ Additional Chief Secretary/ Principal Secretary/ Secretary to Government, Agriculture Department
3) Director of Environment, Chennai – 15. The Government also nominated the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoD) as a Permanent Special invitee to the Tamil Nadu State Wetland Authority meetings.

Functions of the Tamil Nadu State Wetland Authority

• Prepare a comprehensive list of wetlands in the State.

• Prepare list of wetlands to be notified under Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017.

• Recommend identified wetlands for regulation based on their brief documents

• Prepare digital inventory of all wetlands and uploading them.

• Develop comprehensive list of activities to be regulated and permitted within notified wetlands

• Recommend additions to the list of prohibited activities

• Define strategies for conservation and wise use of wetlands

• Review integrated management plan for each of the notified wetlands

• In cases where lands within boundary of notified wetlands or wetlands complex have private tenancy rights, recommend mechanisms for maintenance of ecological character through promotional activities

• Identify mechanisms for convergence of implementation of the management plan

• Ensure enforcement of Wetland (Conservation & Management) Rules 2017.

• Coordinate the implementation of integrated management plans

• Function as nodal authority for all wetland specific authorities within the State

• Issue necessary directions for conservation and sustainable management of wetlands to the respective implementing agencies

• Create awareness among local community about the importance of wetlands.

• Advise on any other matter suo-motu, or as referred by the State Government.