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Biodiversity & Environment

Protests over Water Aerodrome Project in Chilika

  • 16 Aug 2018
  • 4 min read

The Union government proposal for setting up of five water aerodromes in the country to promote tourism, including the one at the Chilika lake is faced with sharp criticism from the state government of Odisha and various organizations.

  • The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Odisha has written to the state government and the Centre requesting to reconsider the proposal of operating seaplanes in the Chilka Lake.
  • According to the State Government, it would directly affect two lakh fishermen families and the biodiversity of Asia’s largest saltwater lake.
  • Apart from Chilika, Gujarat’s Sardar Sarovar Dam and Sabarmati River Front have been cleared for the project in the first phase.
  • Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Maharashtra are also in the list of water aerodrome projects.
  • Green Nobel prize winner environmental activist, Prafulla Samantara while opposing the move pointed that it can affect its biodiversity and have negative impact on the livelihood of thousands of families depending on it.

What is Water Aerodrome?

  • A water aerodrome is an area of open water that can be used by seaplanes as well as amphibious aircraft to land and take off.
    Such aircraft are expected to take people across water faster and more safely than local boats
  • Moreover, depending on the volume of traffic, water aerodrome may have a terminal building on the shore or on a jetty where planes can dock, and bays where they can be parked.
  • The water dromes are present in some island nations, especially in the richer ones like the British Virgin Islands.
  • Also, there are few in Canada, including Yellowknife on the Great Slave Lake, Tofino on Vancouver Island and Whitehorse on Schwatka Lake.

Chilika lake

  • Chilika is Asia's largest and world's second largest lagoon after the New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia. It lies on the east coast of India in the state of Odisha, separated from the mighty Bay of Bengal by a small strip of sand.
  • It spreads over Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha on the east coast of India, at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal, covering an area of over 1,100 square kilometeres.
  • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent and is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals.
  • In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

  • The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
  • Ramsar Convention is the only global environment treaty dealing with a particular ecosystem.
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