Thursday, Jul 18, 2002
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By P.S.Suresh Kumar
The Rs. 134 crore-project, a long-pending demand of conservationists, will be funded under a collaborative arrangement involving the Centre, the State Government, the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Development Programme.
By the end of the project, a significant sustainable development baseline would have been leveraged. Ms. Jayalalithaa is visiting Ramanathapuram to launch various schemes to the tune of Rs.267 crores, including one for the conservation of the GoM's marine ecology.
Sources said though the State Government notified its intent to set up the Park in March 1980, only now the Global Environment Facility has contributed Rs 38.25 crores as grant.
Speaking to The Hindu, the wildlife warden, the Gulf of Mannar National Marine Park, V.Naganathan, said the basic objective of the project was to conserve the GoM's coastal bio-diversity and demonstratethe method of integrating biodiversity conservation into coastal zone management plans.
The objective would be achieved through the establishment of an effective, integrated, long-term biosphere reserve management programme, characterised by the ethic of equitable stewardship and an enabling institutional policy within a regulatory and financial framework, he said.
The GoM's estimated 3,600 plant and animal species make it one of the richest coastal regions in the country.
Its biosphere reserve comprises 21 islands.
However, its diversity is threatened by habitat destruction, overharvesting of marine resources and civic pollution.
The Government has plans to provide sustainable livelihood to fisherfolk through modification of existing non-sustainable activities in the buffer zone.
It has selected 125 coastal villages for the implementation of the project.
Of them, six have been selected to ensure alternative livelihood to the fisherfolk on an experimental basis.
Fishermen of Kunthukal, Nadutheru, Chinnapalam, Munthalmunai, Therkkuvadi and Thoppukadu depend on the Krusdai island, known as a `biologist's paradise', for their livelihood.
A plan to develop eco-tourism for the fisherfolk of the villages is under consideration.
Village-level committees would be formed to promote snorkelling and scuba diving.
A glass bottom boat has been purchased at a cost of Rs. 2.84 lakhs to attract tourists, said Mr.Naganathan.
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