Wetland Day


Jheel on Jheel Road, Jadavpur


Vasundhara Celebrates Wetland Day


1st Aasar, the first day of the Bengali month Assar, is the Wetland Day in West Bengal, India. It is still relatively unknown affair mostly observed by a few official programmes. But not to all. Jheel Sanrakshan Committee of Jheel Road, Jadavpur observes the day with different programmes for last few years. The committee led the community movement to save the last big waterbody on Jheel road. Now the renovated waterbody, the Jheel, is maintained by this committee. The local school students have drawn the paintings from Abol-Tabol and Sahaj Path on the walls around the Jheel, a variety of trees have formed a green belt around and all sides are immaculately clean. It is now a place to visit. Vasundhara observes the day with this community organisation.

This year, Wetland Day on 1st Aasar, 16th June, 2002, was observed by Jheel Sanrakshan Committee and Vasundhara through a number of programmes by the side of this Jheel. A seminar on Problems of Conservation of Urban Waterbodies was held. Seven Pond committees of South Kolkata - Dhakuria Gangulibagan, Bapuji Nagar E-Block, Baghajatin A-Block, Garfa Rashmoni Bagan, Kazipara, Nandibagan and Jheel Sanrakshan committee took part in the discussion. This is the first time so many community organisations protecting these urban waterbodies have come together to discuss the issue.

Dr. A.B.Bhunia and Dr. Rita Saha of Central Pollution Control Board, Prof. Siddhartha Dutta of Chemical Engineering Department of Jadavpur University, Naba Dutta of Nagarik Mancha, Bamacharan Chakraborty and Khiti Goswami, former PWD Minister took part in the lively discussion. Some important technical aspects of maintenance and management of the ponds were discussed. Vasundhara, an environmental group helped to organize the seminar. The seminar was followed by some songs and recitations. Then started the environmental quiz for school students conducted by Dr. Bhupati Chakraborty. The programme ended with a unique slide show on the status of Kolkata ponds and on the movement to save the Jheel made by Vasundhara. Mohit Ray of Vasundhara conducted the whole programme. A large number of local residents enjoyed the every moment of this programme. At least one locality in this city knows now about Wetland Day and is proud of its own waterbody.