The environment department in West Bengal has disbursed Rs 2 crore to Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to begin dredging work at Bongheri Bheri, a part of Ramsar-recognised site East Kolkata Wetlands, having cleared encroachments in the area.
A senior government official said that the police, along with BMC, have already razed the illegal settlements along the entire occupied stretch, near Chingrighata crossing, and dredging work by the corporation will begin soon.
“The environment department has already handed over Rs 2 crore to BMC, under the jurisdiction of which comes the water body. Encroachers have already been removed and work to restore the bheri will begin soon. The department is sure that the entire encroached belt will get back to its original shape,” he said.
Spread over 50 acres, the waterbody has two parts — Boro Bongheri Bheri and Chhoto Bongheri Bheri. Taken together, they form a part of the 31,000-acre East Kolkata Wetlands, also a Ramsar site.
A Ramsar site is a wetland of global importance under the Ramsar Convention, also known as The Convention on Wetlands, an intergovernmental treaty established by Unesco in 1971.
Environmentalist S.M. Ghosh hailed the initiative of the environment department. “East Kolkata Wetlands plays a vital role in maintaining ecological balance by purifying effluents. Some unscrupulous people were filling up parts of the sprawling water body. If it was not contained, such desperate works would have continued. The city and its ecosystem would have faced serious threats,” Ghosh added.