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1.Introduction ............................................................................................................................................................................... 6 1.1 East Kolkata Wetlands ......................................................................................................................................................................6 1.2 Management Planning Purpose ....................................................................................................................................................8 1.3 Approach and Methodology ............................................................................................................................................................9 1.4 Management Plan Structure ........................................................................................................................................................ 11 2. Management Planning Rationale and Scope ........................................................................................................ 12 2.1 Evaluation of Wetland Features................................................................................................................................................. 12 Wetland Catchments ........................................................................................................................................................ 12 Hydrological Regimes ...................................................................................................................................................... 15 Biodiversity .......................................................................................................................................................................... 21 Socioeconomics .................................................................................................................................................................. 24 Institutional Arrangements ........................................................................................................................................... 27 2.2 Status and trends in wetland features..................................................................................................................................... 28 2.3 Key management issues ................................................................................................................................................................. 30 3. Management Planning Framework ........................................................................................................................... 32 3.1 Goal & Purpose ................................................................................................................................................................................... 32 3.2 Approach ............................................................................................................................................................................................... 32 3.3 Management Objectives ................................................................................................................................................................. 33 3.4 Risks and Assumptions .................................................................................................................................................................... 33 3.5 Implementation Arrangements .................................................................................................................................................. 33 4. Action Plan .............................................................................................................................................................................. 41

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW) spread over an area of 12,500 ha, is located on the eastern fringe of Kolkata city. This is one of the largest assemblages of sewage fed fish ponds and garbage farming areas, together with settlements and agricultural land.

The East Kolkata Wetlands forms a part of extensive inter-distributory wetland regimes that was transformed into sewage-fed fisheries as far back as in 1928. 2. The sewage fed fishery and garbage farming linked waste recycling practices have traditionally been the only option for management of the urban waste of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC). This age old practice produces has been yielding valuable products like vegetables and fish through a system of resource recovery mechanism creating in the process employment for nearly 25 thousand people. 3. These practices that have been found beneficial both economically as well as ecologically have since received worldwide recognition. Government decision to change land use in certain areas were turned down by the Honourable Calcutta High Court and the weight of the judicial pronouncement has gone in favour of maintaining the existing status of land use in East Kolkata Wetlands. 4. The Government of West Bengal, considering the importance of EKW and its time-honored practices also took a pro-conservation approach by recommending it to the Government of India for EKW,s Ramsar accreditation. The Government, after declaration of EKW as Wetland of International Importance promulgated an ordinance in 2005 and passed an Act in 2006 for Conservation and Management of these Wetlands through the setting up of a statutory authority called East Kolkata Wetlands Management Authority (EKWMA). The Authority prepared a detailed Conservation and Management Plan and submitted it to the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), Govt. of India in 2009 for financial assistance. 5. EKWMA has since started implementing the Management Plan with financial assistance from the MoEF, Govt. of India. 6. The Government of India issued a notification in December 2010 for the Conservation and Management of all Ramsar Sites in India. The Government of India also desired that agricultural land should not be included within wetlands. Accordingly, the East Kolkata Wetlands has been classified into 2 categories-


Core Wetlands Area

ii) Non Core Wetlands Area The Core wetlands area includes substantially water bodies area and garbage recycling area. Non Core wetlands area includes agricultural land and settlement spanning both rural and urban area. It is thus proposed that the Non Core wetland area shall be the buffer area and will thus be an integral part of the East Kolkata Wetlands. The Core wetlands part will be governed by the Government of India rules but the Non Core wetland part will be governed by the guidelines of EKWMA and the EKW Act and relevant policy directives. 7. East Kolkata is known for recycling of waste water through pisciculture. East Kolkata Wetlands has also been practicing Solid waste recycling through garbage farming since 1880. Both these activities will come to a grinding halt in the East Kolkata Wetlands if the discharge of untreated waste water and disposal of domestic solid waste of the Kolkata city would be prohibited as per Wetlands Rules of Govt. of India which would lead to the veritable extinction of the EKW as a historically evolved eco-friendly system. 8. The Government of West Bengal proposed to improve the waste recycling system in EKW area, and would like to not only continue but also actively promote sewage and garbage based recycling practices. 9. Action Plan has been worked out to implement the Management Plan for the purpose of Conservation and Management of Wetlands which emphasizes biodiversity conservation, water bird conservation and enhancing fish biodiversity. Also promotion of ecotourism development has been undertaken as a part of Communication, Education and Public Awareness programme which will improve the livelihood of the local people. The promotion of ecotourism is most likely to generate employment opportunities in the EKW area. Sustainable fisheries development,

pisciculture, horticulture development will further provide alternative livelihood opportunities to the local people. 10. Furthermore, effort has been taken to improve livelihood of the people by micro enterprise development; vegetation based micro enterprise development, ornamental fish culture, goatery, and piggery, fish cum duck rearing. For the betterment of the general living condition of the local people efforts have been taken to supply safe drinking water, proper sanitation and accommodation facilities.

11. In EKW area around, there are as many as 100 villages with more than 30,000 households residing in the area for the last 100 years. The EKWMA has to allow certain level of house building and repairing activities in the settlement area only as per the EKWMA Guidelines. 12. Finally, EKWMA has been acting as the nodal agency for the implementation of EKW Act, as well as for the enforcement of the Wetland Rules of Govt. of India.

The East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW), located on the eastern fringes of Kolkata city, sustain one of the world largest and oldest integrated resource recovery practice based on a combination of aquaculture, agriculture and horticulture. These wetlands, spanning over an area of 12,500 ha, form a part of the extensive inter-distributory wetland regimes formed by the Gangetic delta (Map 1). Based on its immense ecological and socio cultural importance, the Government of India designated EKW as Wetland of International Importance under Ramsar Convention in 2003. The boundaries of the wetland system are currently defined as per the provisions laid under the East Kolkata Wetlands (Conservation and Management Act), 2006. Located amidst Rivers Hooghly on the west and Kulti on the east between 22025 to 22040 N and 88020 to 88035 E, the wetland is a mosaic of landforms including predominantly water dominated areas (used as fish farms) to land centric usages for agriculture and horticulture. Settlements are interspersed between various land uses. As per analysis based on IKONOS imagery of 2002 (November), 46% of the demarcated area is under waterbodies, the rest being under permanent agriculture (39%), garbage farming (5%) and settlements (10%). The use of sewage as the basis of aquaculture, agriculture and horticulture production systems provides the rationale for considering the entire system as a single management unit. EKW is also referred to as a Waste Recycling Region (WRR).

East Kolkata Wetlands under Wetlands Rules 2010 The definition of wetlands under the Wetland Rules, 2010 is as follows: 'wetland" means an area or of marsh, fen, peat land or water; natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water, the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters and includes all inland waters such as lakes, reservoir, tanks, backwaters, lagoon, creeks, estuaries and manmade wetland and the zone of direct influence on wetlands that is to say the drainage area or catchment region of the wetlands as determined by the authority but does not include main river channels, paddy fields and the coastal wetland covered under the notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of Environment and Forest, S.O. number 114 (E) dated the 19Ih February, 1991 published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, Sub-section (ii) of dated the 20th February,l991;

For the purpose of management planning the entire EKW covering 12741 ha may be divided as core wetlands and noncore-wetland area in the light of the definition of Wetlands defined in wetland rules 2010. The definition clearly states that the wetland area does not include the paddy fields. The core-wetland zone includes the bheries used for swage fed fisheries, and Productive Farming Area, and the noncore- wetland area of EKW is consisting of paddy fields and settlement area. Zone Map of EKW Area

Core Wetland Area Non Core Wetland Area

EKW provides several ecosystem services which makes it a critical natural infrastructure for the urban environment of Kolkata. The wetland treats nearly 600 million liters of sewage and wastewater generated by Kolkata Municipal Corporation area every day. The wastewater discharged into Kulti River is significantly improved in quality after passing through the wetland. Additionally, the city receives nearly one-third of its daily fish requirement from EKW (about 11,000 metric tonnes per annum). The city also receives 150 metric tonnes of vegetables daily from the horticulture areas within the wetland. Through these, EKW provides subsistence opportunities for a large, economically underprivileged population of 0.15 million living in 109 villages within its boundaries. EKW is also one of the few natural habitats providing recreational avenues for the urban and peri-urban population. The wetland, along with a series of beels interspersed across the Gangetic Delta provide support to various forms of biodiversity, and are key to ecological integrity of the region. EKW was included as one of the 17 case studies on wise use of wetlands identified by the Ramsar Convention at the global level. The wetland provides strong arguments for integration of traditional knowledge of local communities into conservation and management practices. The current wetland area is remnant of series of brackishwater lakes connected to the freshwater as well as marine environments of the Gangetic Delta Rivers and the Bay of Bengal and providing a diverse range of ecosystem services. The Kolkata City grew on the levees of River Hooghly in the sixteenth century virtually without any drainage system and initially all the solid waste and sewerage was dumped into the river. Frequent outbreaks of malaria, plague and other diseases forced the city planners to abandon this practice and construct a system of sewers to discharge waste into EKW then considered a malarious jungle with limited societal value. The wetland system acted as a vast spill area for the flood and tidal flows for the discharge of Bidhydhari River, one of the distributaries of River Jamuna and served to attenuate floods for the Kolkata city. However, the wetlands gradually lost their connectivity to freshwater and tidal environments due to deltaic processes. Human interference primarily in the form of channelization further quickened the process of silt deposition within the channels and finally the Bidhydhari became defunct by the end of 18th century. With this, the sewage from the city became the dominant flows, which was used as an opportunity by private entrepreneurs to establish wastewater aquaculture, horticulture and agriculture in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1864, a portion of the salt lakes was acquired for dumping solid wastes. Thus over a period of time, the wetlands transformed from brackish water lakes to sewage fed fish farms, with large areas being converted for settlements and agriculture development. The post independence surge of refugees to Kolkata City made the town planners further look into expansion of urban area. This prompted reclaiming of more than 1,000 ha of the northern portion of wetland for establishment of the Salt Lake City. In 1969, redistribution of land under land reforms led to further filling up of approximately 2,500 ha of water bodies for conversion into paddy fields.


The Management Plan outlines the commitment of the Government of West Bengal for conservation and management of EKW. Located on the periurban interface of Kolkata City, the wetland has been under constant pressures for conversion for settlements and agriculture. Changes in land use, rapid siltation due to changes in hydrological regimes, pollution and stakeholder conflicts have greatly impaired wetland functioning. Conservation efforts have also been limited in scope. Mapping of the conservation area boundary for the wetland including the waste recycling region was done in 1985 by the State Planning Board, Government of West Bengal. Subsequently, the High Court of Kolkata passed an order in 1992 prohibiting changes in land use of the area and directed the state government to take recourse to statutory cover to prevent any encroachment. The West Bengal Town and Country (Planning and Development) Act, 1979 and Fisheries Act, 1984 (amended in 1993) banned conversion and filling up of the wetland

site. Several scientific studies on various aspects of the wetland were carried out by state government departments, research agencies, and others. However, these efforts were largely restricted to being academic exercises and no systematic approach to conservation and sustainable development of these wetlands were adopted. EKW faces grave threat to its ecological character, and thereby endangering the overall sustainability of the resource recovery practices which forms the base of existence of the entire Kolkata city, and of the livelihoods of wetland dependent communities. The notification of the East Kolkata Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Act in 2006 laid the foundation of East Kolkata Wetland Management Authority (EKWMA) as a nodal agency for systematic implementation of wise use principles for management of this Ramsar Site. The Act took explicit cognizance of EKW as a Wetland of International Importance and its various ecosystem services, including ability for regulation of water regimes, wastewater treatment, source of groundwater recharge and other socio cultural values. The Act defined the land use within the wetland as per revenue records, identifying each land parcel as substantially water dominated, under agriculture, horticulture or settlements, and banned any further diminution of wetland area, change in ecological character, and overall land use. EKWMA was accorded functions to enable implementation of the Act, which included regulating land use change, preventing unauthorized development and promoting integrated management of the wetland system. The current management plan is a response to the need identified by the Government of West Bengal for an integrated strategy and action plan for ensuring wise use of the EKW. Wetlands International South Asia (WISA), based on its expertise in wetland management, was engaged by EKWMA for formulation of an integrated management plan (IMP). Conservation and sustainable development of EKW requires integrated planning and resource management at the river basin level recognizing the interconnectedness of the wetland system with its catchments. River basin level planning requires understanding of the carrying capacity of the basin with a view to produce desired outputs (goods and services) from limited resource base and achieving equitable quality of life while maintaining desired environmental quality in the region. The planning for management calls for trade off between desired production and consumption levels. It also emphasizes on development of supportive mechanisms within the generative capacity while maintaining the environmental quality. The challenge, therefore, is to conserve the ecological character and full range of ecosystem services of EKW while providing sustained benefits to the communities dependent upon the wetland for their sustenance. The plan seeks to balance developmental activities particularly fisheries and agriculture with maintenance of ecological integrity of the wetland system.


Management Planning for EKW mandates recognition of the values, functions and attributes of the wetland and their interlinkages with hydrological and ecological processes within a river basin framework. The river basin approach to address the management issues of EKW needs to take into account the external, natural and induced factors and their influence on the wetland, calling for maintenance of ecosystem characteristics and sustainable utilization of resources for benefit of the stakeholders, particularly local communities. The approach followed for formulation of IMP emphasizes on development of effective institutional mechanisms for conservation and sustainable development of the wetland for the benefit of stakeholders. The management planning framework seeks to harmonize planning at various levels with participation of concerned stakeholders to achieve the objectives of integrated conservation and sustainable resource development. The approach for management planning has been based on a thorough assessment of feasibility of application of several wetland management guidelines as adopted by the Ramsar Convention. These include the guidelines on inventorization and assessment, integration of wetlands into river

basin management, water allocation for ecological and human uses, risk assessment, communication, education and public awareness and wise use of wetlands. The broad approach followed takes into consideration the following: Adopting river basin approach and zonation planning concept for conservation and management Integration of biodiversity into regional planning to minimize impacts of developmental activities Participatory approaches involving local communities, scientists, NGOs and concerned organizations to ensure sustainability of activities Adopting preventive measures by combating the problems at source rather merely curative measures Revival of indigenous knowledge and traditional practices which are cost effective for resource management Application of knowledge based techniques for restoration through research and development activities Periodic monitoring and evaluation with focus on achieving the goals and objectives rather than merely activities. The methodology for management planning is based on the New Guidelines for Management Planning for Ramsar Sites and Other Wetlands as adopted by Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in their seventh meeting held in 2002 at Valencia, Spain. The methodology is based on critical evaluation of ecological, socioeconomic, and cultural features to identify objectives and operational limits for effective restoration and management of wetland

Fig. 1 : Management Planning Methodology ecosystems. The management planning methodology for EKW is given in the Fig 1.


The management action plan has been formulated by a team of experts having specialization in water resources development, sustainable fisheries, biodiversity, livelihood security, poverty alleviation and institutional development. Management objectives have been identified based on evaluation of features. The critical problems confronting EKW were thoroughly analyzed to develop rationale for the management objectives. The targets under each management objectives were quantitatively defined based on rapid field survey, information review and community consultation. The strategies proposed for management are based on good management practices adopted elsewhere and traditional knowledge. Based on the analysis of the factors and features and definition of management objectives, specific projects were developed for land use management, water management, biodiversity conservation, livelihood improvement and institutional development. Cost-benefit analysis of the action plan was carried out to assess the feasibility of the interventions and sustainability of the activities.


The IMP broadly focuses on biodiversity conservation and maintaining ecological processes and functions through land and water management. Sustainable resource development is proposed to be achieved through fisheries and agriculture development. Micro-enterprises involving value additions would provide additional / alternate income generation to the stakeholders. Special emphasis has been laid on ecotourism development as an important tool for awareness generation on wetland values and functions and having potential of providing economic benefits to the stakeholders. Institutional development and community participation are envisaged as cross cutting components to achieve sustainable development of wetlands. The IMP broadly includes four chapters. The first (and the current) chapter aims to set the basis of management planning. The chapter two outlines the rationale and scope for wetland management planning based on description of ecological character and summary of key status and trends. The chapter also includes review of developmental activities undertaken and the current institutional arrangements in place. Chapter three of the report summarizes the management planning framework of the project with well defined goals, objectives, targets, indicators and strategies. Chapter four outlines the planned interventions and activity programme. Activity wise costs and work plan for various components are also included in this chapter.



EKW forms a part of series of marsh formations within Gangetic Delta. The Delta begins its formation at Farakka, wherein flanked by Chhotanagpur Plateau on the southwest and Darjeeling Himalayan Hills on the northwest, the Ganges braids into Bhagirathy-Hooghly flowing down towards the south and Padma flowing towards southeast and entering Bangladesh. The dynamic siltation pattern in the delta resulting due to the interface between freshwater and coastal processes creates a distinct topographic pattern. From the apex of the delta, the altitude gradually declines from 20 - 25 m amsl to mean sea level at the middle point and then increases towards Sunderbans to 1.5 2 m amsl. The presence of this depression along with changing silt distribution patterns due to shifting of river courses and clayey and calcareous substratum creates conducive environment for formation of marshes which have presence all along India and Bangladesh. Within the Indian territory, their presence is conspicuous in North and South 24 Praganas and Nadia Districts. Atleast eight such complexes, known as beels can be identified in this region, which include Balli, Goabaria, Bariti, Mathura, Nangla, Baykar, and Bejor. In Bangladesh, these marshes are known as beels as well as haors, of which Tanguar, Bakra, Kajulia, Dumoria, Satla, Daloria, Alipur, Dakatia , Pabla, and Boyra are prominent. EKW constitutes one such large system of marshes located within the peri-urban interface of Kolkata City (Map 2.1). Hydrological regimes of the wetland are influenced by the tributary and distributory flows of the deltaic region. The natural flow regimes defined the EKW as a backwater swamp and spill area of Bidhyadhuri River, which was one of the several distributaries of Hoogly River, branching off at Cassipore, and draining into the Sunderbans through Piyali and Matla Rivers. The series of depressions at the eastern periphery of Kolkata were filled in by the water of the Hooghly as well as Bay of Bengal, creating brackishwater characteristics and thereby the name salt lakes. However, owing to the shifting of the main course of Ganges from Bhagirathi to Padma, and extensive channelization within the upstream reaches for navigational purposes and subsequently for drainage, the freshwater flows to the Bidhyadhuree rapidly reduced leading to gradual domination of the marine elements and silt, and finally annihilation of the river. The north south hydrological exchange between the freshwater and marine systems was artificially engineered into a west to east connectivity regulated through construction of locks and pumps. This led to a gradual domination of sewage flows from Kolkata into the system and their subsequent utilization for fisheries and agriculture. The drainages of Bidhydhuri in the upstream gradually merged into the Kulti estuary through the narrow arterial channels Nonagong, Sunti and Nowaee. The estuary is connected to the Bay of Bengal through an intricate network of distributaries of which Piali-Matla, Harinbhanga and Bidya are the major ones. Kulti estuary itself is an offshoot of Raimangal estuary also known by the names Barkalgachi, Kalagachi, Hatgachigong, Kultigong and Haroagong. Based on the hydrological regimes, the entire Gangetic Delta forms an indirect catchment of the EKW, whereas the direct catchment can be defined as an area covering the following five subbasins (Map 2.2):


Map 2.1 : Wetlands of Gangetic Delta


Map 2.2 : EKW direct catchment

a) Kolkata Sub Basin which contributes sewage flow as well as storm flow into the wetlands through a intricate network of channels, ultimately terminating into Dry Weather Flow and Storm Weather Flow channels. The flows primarily generate through abstractions from River Hooghly, groundwater and rainfall. b) Kulti Upper Sub Basin constituting the flows of three channels , i.e, Suntee, Nowaee and Nonagong. c) Kulti Lower Sub Basin drained by the flows of Kulti River and the tidal efflux from Sunderbans which creates a huge marsh complex known as Goabaria Beel d) Piyali Bidyadhuri Sub Basin drained by Piyali and Bidhyadhuri channels dominated by marine flows e) Adiganga Sub Basin drained by presently derelict Adiganga River which connects to the Hoogly through Tollys Nullah The overall extent of the direct catchment is 1,993 sq km. The Kulti lower and upper basins constitute 57% of the total area, followed by Kolkata sub basin (having 27% of the basin area). The Adiganga and Piyali Bidyadhuri sub basins account for 8% each of the total area. Located within the lower deltaic alluvial plain of the Ganges River system, the region is under laid with sediments deposited in successive stages by the river and consists of layers of clay, clay and calcareous concretions, peaty intercalations, sandy and silty clay and fine to coarse sand. The water table throughout the basin is high. The region has a hot and humid monsoonal climate. It receives an annual average rainfall of 1600 mm mainly concentrated in the months of June to October. January is the coolest month and May the hottest.


Being richly endowed with natural resources, the East Kolkata Basin is also the development hub of the region. While accounting for less than 2% of the total area, the basin is inhabited by more than 22% of states population. The three districts which constitute a majority of its area contribute 30% of the states gross domestic product. The region also plays a critical role in ensuring food security accounting for 22% of paddy and 44% of fish productivity of the state. Wetlands sustain the overall developmental activities within the region through their natural functioning, i.e. by regulating flows, supporting highly productive fisheries and agriculture, sustaining biodiversity and their inextricable linkages with culture and belief systems of the communities. Since the basin and developmental activities therein directly and indirectly affects the functioning of the wetland, it forms a single contiguous ecological unit for conservation and managing planning. Agriculture is the predominant land use within the basin accounting for 59% of the total area, followed by settlements . As the basin lies within a deltaic system, wetlands constitute 17% of its total area of the basin. There is hardly any perennial vegetative cover within the basin. The East Kolkata Wetlands located within the KMC basin displays a complex mosaic of landuse categories including waterspread areas, agriculture, horticulture and settlements. Waterbodies within the wetland are used for mainly used for sewage fed pisciculture. As per survey carried by CRG in 1997, there are 286 fish farms, locally called bheries, of sizes ranging from 0.37 ha to 144 ha. Agriculture located within the eastern margins of the wetland and to the south of the Dry Weather Flow channels accounts for 38% of the land use. Paddy is the major crop cultivated within these areas thrice a year. Water for agriculture is primarily derived from the effluent of the fish farms, however some of areas also depend on monsoon and groundwater extraction. The area under horticulture is confined within the Town Head Cut and Sub Urban Head Cut channels located within the solid waste landfill areas of Dhapa, Boinchtala and Dhalenda mouzas. The area accounting for 5% of landuse is owned by Kolkata Municipal Corporation. As many as 15 varieties of vegetables are grown in this area and sold in the local and city markets providing livelihood support to small and marginal farmers. The land use within the East Kolkata Wetlands has been changing with the growing developmental pressures from the metropolitan as well as population within. As compared to 1959 (using SOI Toposheet data), there is a discernible conversion of wetlands in Khodahati, Tardaha, Tardaha Kapasity to agricultural lands (Map 2.3 and 2.4). Similarly, wetlands areas within Bhagabanpur, Karimpur, Jagatipota, Ranabhutia, Atghara, and Mukundapur have been converted for residential purposes. The construction of Eastern Metropolitan Bypass has also led to separation and subsequently conversion of a large chunk of wetlands on the western boundary. Since, 1997, a distinct conversion of waterbodies to agricultural land and settlements can also be recorded.

Hydrological regimes of the EKW are highly modified and occur through drainage and sewerage channels which connect the urban and peri urban Kolkata located on the bank to Hooghly to the outfall system in Kulti. The flows of Kolkata sub basin, of which the wetland forms a part, are ultimately discharged to the two rivers, i.e Hoogly and Kulti Rivers through its 1,412 km length of drainage system and interconnected network of drains and channels. Flows from the urban centers are transferred into the lead channels through a system of pumps. As the two rivers are subject to tidal actions, regulators have been constructed at the outfalls of channels to enable controlled discharge of the sewage.


Map 2.3 : East Kolkata Wetland Landuse - 2003

Map 2.4 : East Kolkata Wetlands Landuse - 1955 16

EKW receives only a part of the upstream watershed flows, i.e. those arising from the core areas of town system, suburban system and Manicktala, Topsia-Tangra and Tollygunge-Panchannagram systems. The rest of the flows are bypassed directly into the Kulti River through Krishnapur, Bhangar Kata and Upper and Lower Bagjola Canals. Thus, overall the flows from the following systems are received into the wetland: Kolkata Drainage System: The Kolkata Drainage System includes the oldest part of the Kolkata city and is bound by the Circular Canal in the north and Tollys Nullah Basin to the south. The entire area is served by two independent drainage networks; the area lying to the north of the Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose Road is drained to the Palmers Bazaar Pumping Station and subsequently to the SWF and DWF Channels and is designated as Town System. The area to the south is drained towards the Ballygunge Drainage Pumping Station and is designated the Sub urban system. The combined dry weather flows from the Palmers Bazaar Pumping Station, Ballygunge Pumping Station and Topsia Pumping Station combine at Topsia Point A, the outlet from which forms the DWF channel. The storm weather monsoon flows from the region are bypassed into Suburban Head Cut for ultimate disposal to River Kulti. Manicktala Drainage System: This system is bound by the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass to the east, Circular / Beliaghata Canal to the west and south and New Cut Canal/Keshtopur Canal to the north, and comprises drainage systems for Ultadanga, Kankurgachi, Phoolbagan, and Beliaghata. The trunk sewers serving Kankurgachi and Ultadanaga finally culminate to the Ulta Danga Pumping Station, and subsequently to the Dhapa Lock Pumping Station. The Phoolbagan and Beliaghata areas directly drain to Dhapa Lock Pumping Station through their trunk sever networks. Topsia-Tangra Drainage System: This system is bound by Eastern Railway Lines to the east, Park Circus Connector to the south and Circular Canal to the north. The drainage within this system can be broadly divided into the following: Topsia system served by the Topsia Pumping Station Chingrighata system served by the Chingrighata Pumping Station Pagladanga system served by the Pagladanga Pumping Station Kulia Tangra system served by the Kulia Tangra Pumping Station China Town area system which is an independent gravity drainage system Metropolitan Cooperative Land Area System which is also an independent gravity system

All the drainages subsequently flow into the Town Head Cut Channel, with flows reaching to the Bantala Regulator, located at the terminus of Dhapa Dumping Ground


Tollygunge Panchannagram Drainage System: This drainage system partly flows into Kulti and partly into Hooghly. The drainage from the entire area leads to TP main canal through a system of lead channels, and then subsequently into the DWF channel. The Suburban Head Cut after receiving the excess flows from BDPS flows towards Bantala, which receives the bypass flows from Topsia Point A and the pumped discharge of the Tollygunge Panchannagram Basin. At the Bantala THC the SHC meets the DWF and after passing through the 10 vented regulators, becomes the SWF Channel. The DWF Channel runs parallel to SWF and is 36 km long. The sewage flowing in the DWF channel is then tapped for fish farming through fish feeder canal which takes off at Bantala. The regulator system at Bantala enables flows of sewage into the fish farms by closing 9 of the 10 gates. This is the primary source of inflow into the fish farms located within the northern zone. In the southern zone, the inflow takes place through the Lal Kuti Khal which takes off from the DWF nearly 200 m upstream of Bantala regulator. Additionally, sewage flows through the Kheadaha Canal augment the sewage availability within the zone. Bagjola Drainage System; This drainage system comprising of Upper and Lower Bagjola sub-basins, having basin areas of 84.79 and 95.85 sq km respectively, drains considerable area in the northern part of the Kolkata Municipal area, and adjoining satellite municipal areas which includes, Braanagr, Lake Town, Bangur Avenue and adjoining areas of the KMC, , North and South Dumdum, RajarhatGopalpur municipalities and the the upcoming Jyoti Bose Nagar (erstwhile New Town). A large pumping station has been installed at Kulti to pump out drainage discharge into the Kulti River during the rainy season to offset the effect of tidal lockage which is considerable at the outfall point. In dry months, however gravitational flow is allowed as the effect of tidal lockage on the drainage congestion is negligible. The capacity of the canal is more than 3000 cusecs though the average storm weather discharges 28.30 cumecs (1000 cusecs) or 2440 MLD. Krishnapur- Bhangarkata Drainage System: The Krisnpur-Bhangarkata Khal was developed as navigation anal for transportation of merchandise from erstwhile east Bengal (now in Bangladesh) to Kolkata through the tidal estuaries in the Sunarbans. After theis navigation channel fell into disuse, the Kriishnapur Khal was converted into a drainage channel draining part of the salt Lake town. The Krishnapur Khal passes through the EKW area and divides the art of the EKW, lying on the north of DWF channel has the potential to feed the fisheries and bring larger inflows to the wetlands. Located within a deltaic area, and within a system subject to tidal action, the inflow and outflows are conditioned through various hydraulic structures, including sewage pumps and regulators (Map 2.5). The operation of these structures is primarily governed by the need to ensure minimum waterlogging within the Kolkata City and secondarily to ensure sewage availability within the fish farms and agriculture areas of the wetland. During the monsoons, all structures are synchronized to ensure water drainage to Kulti bypassing the wetland, with the locks ensuring that no tidal influx takes place towards the system. During the lead seasons, the structures are operated to pump sewage towards the wetland and thereafter to Kulti River.


Map 2.5 : Hydraulic Structures within Kolkata Sub Basin Till date, there have no systematic assessments on the overall hydrological regimes of the wetland system. Limited data on flows is available through the KEIP assessments primarily from a drainage and sewerage perspective. Presently, the overall inflows from the upstream watersheds to the wetland primarily comprise two elements, i.e the dry weather flows and storm weather flows. The total DWF generation within the watersheds draining into the EKW has been estimated as 993 MLD , which is roughly equivalent to 1,000 MLD. However, given the fact that the Tollygunge Panchannagram Basin and Topsia Tangria Basin discharge their DWF directly into the SWF channel, which is then bypassed into the Kulti River, only 78% of the DWF emanating from the Kolkata city and its sub urban areas is drained into the wetlands, and is available for nutrient recycling. The storm weather flow emanating from these watersheds is linked to the rainfall patterns. An analysis of the rainfall within the Kolkata Basin indicates concentration of 75% of the average rainfall of 1,600 mm within July September. The total SWF generation from the upstream watersheds has been estimated to be 136 MCM. Including the dry weather flows , the overall flow generation from the upstream watersheds is 498 MCM. An assessment of inflows from the upstream watersheds indicates that only 40% of upstream flows generation gets into the wetland. During the lean seasons, the wetland receives the DWF flows from the municipal region. During monsoons, the hydraulic structures divert the entire flows to the SWF, reducing the overall upstream inflow by nearly 85%. As the level of SWF is lower than the DWF, the flows naturally get into the former, and drains to Sunderbans through Kulti. One of the key consequences of flow regulation through extensive channelization has been rapid enhancement in the natural siltation and sedimentation process within the Gangetic Delta. In a natural course, the sediments would be expected to be accumulated within the wetlands, but due to extensive regulation of flows, there has been a higher rate of sedimentation within the upper watersheds of East Kolkata Basin. As per assessments carried by the KIEP, the extent of siltation within the sewer system of Kolkata Municipal Corporation is 731,625 cum. Another impact of extensive channelization and subsequent flow reduction is loss of self cleansing velocity which conveys wastewater or storm water without long term deposition of solid material. A common design criteria is to maintain a value of 0.80 m/ sec with peak flow and 0.60 m/sec at average


flows. However, with extensive siltation the hydraulic capacity of the various canals has reduced by 15% to 50% and this self cleansing velocity cannot be maintained, which further augments siltation. In downstream reaches, within the channels of the wetland, the entire monsoon flows from upstream do not flow through the secondary channels, and therefore no flushing takes place. The limited monsoon rains available over the fish ponds are completely insufficient to ensure channel flushing. As a result the ponds have to use pumps for lifting sewage, which would otherwise be available through normal gradient flow. Additionally, excessive siltation has rendered 13% of the area under fish farms defunct. The EKW being a natural depression between the Kolkata city and Kulti estuary provides an enormous water holding capacity. In its natural regimes, this water holding capacity enabled the wetland to regulate the flow regimes and attenuate floods by storing peak monsoon flows as well as tidal flows. However, this natural function of the wetland has not been integrated into spatial planning, and instead reliance is on engineering structures wherein the monsoon flows are transported out from the basin into the downstream Kulti River. Given the fact that the delta building process within the banks has been prematurely interrupted and the city has only marginal elevations as compared to other reaches, the flood attenuation function of the wetlands would have provided a natural buffer against high flows. Analysis of elevations indicates that the present wetland boundary is not a hydrological boundary, but cuts across several elevations. Elevations ranging from 3 to mean sea level are found within the water dominated areas (Map 2.6). Curently the water spread area is only maintained within the fish ponds at an average depth of .7m, the effective water storage within the wetland being utilized works out to be only 22.4 MCM. This is ~ 5 % of the capacity that could be achieved at 2 m amsl elevation, which could be achieved without inundating the settlements. Optimum utilization of this water holding capacity is critical not only from the perspective of restoration of overall hydrological regimes, but also for flood management within Kolkata city. Currently, the storm flows are bypassed, which if allowed inundating the wetland area could absorb the peak flows and reduce water logging within the city. The water storage capacity of the wetland at 1 m amsl is sufficient to absorb the entire monsoon flows.

20 Map 2.6 : Elevation Profile of East Kolkata Wetland Basin

Water use within the wetland is predominantly governed by its use for fisheries and agriculture within the EKW. Fisheries within the wetland are exclusively dependant on the sewage inflows, whereas agriculture uses monsoon runoff as well as ground water apart from effluent discharge from the fish farms. The current allocation pattern within different users has not been assessed comprehensively. Assessments carried by Jalabhumi Bachao Committee indicate that on an average 230 MLD with significant reduction during monsoons. Ghosh (2005) indicate overall sewage use by agriculture to be 400 MLD. No assessments are available on the uptake of effluents from fish farms for agriculture. However, there are indicators that suggest that overall demand of sewage outstrips the availability. The overall demand of sewage for the wastewater fisheries has been assessed to be on an average 420 MLD. Similarly, sewage for agricultural purposes is only accessible to mouzas fringing the fish farms. Agricultural areas lying at the tail end of the DWF channel and towards the north have no access to sewage and therefore depend on monsoon or groundwater through shallow pumps. In the long run, this has also been responsible for gradual weaning away of agriculture from the wetland, to the jaws of land grabbers and encroachers. Despite being the primary users of sewage within the wetland, the availability is not governed by demand of fish farmers, but is largely skewed in favour of the needs of the metropolis. Thus during the monsoons, when there is significant water logging within the urban and suburban reaches of the Kolkata City, the entire storm flows are flushed through the SWF to the Kulti River. Sewage availability within the fisheries during the monsoons thus drastically declines by 60 80%. KEY ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED: Deterioration of the Bidyadhari on account of non availability of upland flow from the Bhagirathi-Hooghly system, the East Kolkata wetlands continued its symbiotic existence in as much as the storm weather and dry weather inflows from the city sustained the wetlands and the vast receptacle of the EKW moderated the excess rainfall during the monsoon and attenuated its floods. Extensive channelisation for the purposes of evacuation of the inflows from the city and navigation robbed the wetlands of this important role. Sustenance and preservation of the wetlands crucially dependent upon the availability of augmented inflows into the wetlands. It is necessary to explore the feasibility od enhancing the inflows in the EKW.

The land use patterns of five direct and interconnected basins of the East Kolkata Wetlands, which contributed the inflows to the wetlands, have been modified to such an extent that many of the connections cannot be revived at present. Strategies of augmentation, therefore, remodeling, reconstruction and improvement of the existing connections and divert some of the storm weather flows, which at present drain into the outfall rivers.

Sewage feed fisheries suffer from inadequate sewage generated in the KMC area. Studies indicate that only a part of sewage inflows generated within the KMC area gets into the EKW. Options to enhance the inflow of sewage need be studied carefully and action planned.. Agriculture located within the eastern margins of the wetland and to the south of the DWF channels accounts for 38% of the land use. Water for agriculture is primarily derived from the effluent of the fish farms; however some of areas also depend on monsoon and


groundwater extraction. Farms located on the periphery of fish farms predominantly use sewage effluent from the fish farms. However, agricultural lands located at the extreme east of the wetland do not get sufficient access to sewage and therefore depend entirely on rainwater, In certain parts of the wetland farmers source groundwater through use of shallow pumps for agriculture. Thus, areas with high degree of sewage availability are able to raise two crops in a year, the rest raising a single crop during monsoons. It is necessary to reduce the dependence of the farmers of the ground water utilizing the effluent from the fisheries wherever possible.

Over last hundred years or more, the EKW has undergone changes in salinity regimes with corresponding drastic changes in floral and faunal diversity. The review of literature indicates that wetland harboured a rich floral and faunal diversity when connected to the freshwater and tidal regimes. But presently, with the wetland being predominantly managed as a fresh water aquaculture system, only a limited range of species is supported. Disappearance of marshes for development of aquaculture has seriously affected diversity. The current section aims to provide a brief account of biodiversity of the wetland system and changes therein. The overall list of various species recorded from the wetland area is presented as Annex II. Vegetation The first comprehensive study on flora of salt lake was carried out by Biswas (1927). He recorded 70 species of plants from various zones distributed within embankments, main wetland and terrestrial area. The vegetation of the embankments and bunds was mostly colonized by the plant species dominated by Fimbristylus ferruginea, Suarda maritime, Acanthus illicifolius, Excoecaria agalocha, Avicennia officinalis etc. The main wetland area was dominated by numerous algal species, in the deeper pockets of the wetland area and tall vegetation dominated by Phragmites karka, Aegiceras majus, Typha elephantine etc. The swamps and dry lands were mostly dominated by oligihaline and mesohaline shrubby plant species and several halophytic trees like Sonnerata apetala, Avicennia officianalis. A number of filamentous algae Enteromorpha intestinalis, E. prolifera etc) have been also reported. Dasgupta (1973) recorded 97 plant species belonging to 41 families, among which 34 species were confined to saline water habitat. He also mentioned the presence of mangrove flora in the region. However, the recent study carried out by (Ghosh and Ghosh, 2003) a total of 106 aquatic plants belonging to 70 genera and 36 families have been reported. Some other studies also reported 96 species under 79 genera and 38 families (IWMED 2004). Among which there is hardly any submerged vegetation in the core fishing area except the plankton communities. From the earlier studies it is inferred that in the past salt lake supported rich vegetation including mangroves and other brackish-water species. Till date there are some remnants of earlier salt water vegetation like Excoecaria agallocha, Achrostichum aureum and Acanthus ilicifolius. However distribution of these species is very sparse. EKW harbours variety of economically important plant species. Some of these plants have tremendous medicinal values and used traditionally by the communities for human and veterinary consumption. Besides several plant species such as Bacopa monnieri, Enhydra fluctuans, Ipomea aquatica, Marsilea minuta are used as vegetables by the local communities. Cyperous rotundous, Phragmities karka and Typha angustifolia are used by the local communities for thatching as well as for pulp, fiber and other uses. Several aquatic plants are used as green compost and manure apart from their usage as food for fish and water purification.


Amphibia and Reptiles The wetland has relatively restricted distribution of amphibian, with only 4 species recorded. The main reptiles species reported from the wetland are water snakes, monitor lizard, common lizard and fresh water tortoise. The invertebrates as well as lower vertebrates including fish and amphibian provide food to the reptilian species. A survey carried out between 1980 1995 indicated occurrence of 19 reptilian species overall including 2 snakes species, 2 species of monitor lizard, 3 species of common lizard and 1 species of fresh water tortoise dominate the reptilian fauna. Waterbirds Zoological Survey of India carried out one of the first surveys of waterbirds in EKW during 19641969. A total of 248 birds species, including 90 aquatic, 11 semi aquatic and 147 terrestrial species were recorded from salt lake marshes. About 50% of the aquatic birds were reported to be migratory. Of these, only 162 species have variably noted during last 30 years. Moreover, at least 16 species have not been recorded after 1978-83 survey. Prakriti Samsad recorded 123 species of birds from Salt Lakes during 1978-83. Some of the land birds, bush lark, red-winged bush lark, pranklins wren warbler have been recorded during this survey, but never before or after. It is likely that the reclamation of marshes and changes inflicted on aquatic and other species resulted in absence of larger species of birds like the Openbill Stork, Spoonbill and many other species of ducks and teals including Red crested Pochard, Tufted Pochard, the Baers Pochard, the Brahminy Duck, the Comb Duck, the Bar-headed Goose etc. Additionally, the birds of prey like Brahminy Kite, Pallass Fishing Eagle, Osprey and Laggar Falcon (and now Vultures) which used to be common in recent past are now no longer seen. Nature Environment and Wildlife Society reported 28 waterbird species from Nalban bheri area (1997). The observation from annual bird population estimation under Asian Waterbird Census in Nalban bheri shows that still a handful of Gadwals, Garganeys, Snipes, gulls, Terns, Egrets and Cormorants also occur throughout the year though showing declining trends in population. Mammals Overall, 22 species of mammals have been recorded within the wetland system of which marsh mongoose, included in the schedule II of Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, is most prominent. Marsh mangoose borrows along the slopes of water bodies and feeds on fishes and aquatic snails within the wetland. This species is usually found moving single or in troops. The species however, faces main threat due to habitat loss. Conversion of large part of wetland area into aquaculture ponds which are mostly devoid of vegetation is a major stress to foraging of this species. Fish Fauna Previously the fish fauna in the EKW system comprised both brackish water and fresh water forms. Biswas (1969) reported occurrence of 80 species of fishes from the salt lake. The low-lying region with saltwater lakes acting as spill reservoirs for the Bidyadhari were utilized for farming of brackish water fish such as bhetki (Lates calcarifer), parse (Mugil parsia), bhangar (Mugil tada) and prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii), etc. (Ghosh and Sen, 1987). De et al., (1989), has reported occurrence of 40 fish species from EKW. Jalabhumi Bachao Committee has recorded only 45 species indicating drastic reduction in the fish composition. Among these, 11 including 6 exotics are mostly cultured species. Recently farmers also have taken initiative for culture 7 indigenous species on trial basis since last two years. CICFRI has observed entry of 4 exotic species (Crocodile fish) in EKW in recent years. Exotics Clarius guriepinnus and Pangasius sutchi which are banned species have also been recorded from the aqua culture farm. Indigenous species Nandous nandus and Xenentodon cancila which were abundant during 1980s have not been recorded at present.


A detailed study on fisheries in EKW has been carried by CRG (1994). Overall, 264 bheries including small homestead ponds or tank fisheries have been identified within the boundary of the wetland system. These bheries with an area of 2,858.65 ha are the major sources of fish production using waste water. Apart from these, there are 22 bheries which are partially or not used for pisciculture. During land reform, the state government divested some large bheries on account of their ceiling surplus lands and distributed these among marginal farmers. Due to lack of capital investment and capacity, small farmers used these for paddy cultivation and in some cases for fish cum paddy cultivation. The total area under such sporadic use is about 973.62 ha. In terms of size, 89% of the 264 operational bheries are below 20 ha occupying 1,080 ha, the remaining 11% account for disproportionately large area of 1,400 ha. Two of the largest fisheries in the region (Nalban and Goltala bheries) remain under the direct control of the State Fisheries Development Corporation, Government of West Bengal. Fisheries that remain in private hands are usually run on a partnership, shareholding or lease hold basis; owners rarely operate fisheries directly. In terms of species, most of the fishers are engaged in culturing the common table fish, which is in high demand in the local as well as in the distant markets. Poly-culture with variety of species is practiced by the farmers, generally focused on three species of Indian major carps (Labeo rohita, Catla catla and Cirrhinus mrigala) along with one minor carp (Labeo bata), three exotic carp (grass carp, silver carp and common carp) and two types of tilapias. The share of Indian Major carps is highest (55%) followed by tilapia (22.6%) and exotic carp (13.6%). Minor carp bata and other species also contribute 3.3% and 5.2% of the total production. Productivity mainly depends on availability of sewage water in the bheries. Due to changes in hydrological regimes and heavy silt load in sewage supply, canals have reduced capacity for the sewage flows to the bheries. Heavy siltation in aquaculture ponds have also causes bed level to rise affecting the natural gradient for sewage water supply in fish ponds. Majority of the bheries in EKW suffer from sewage scarcity.

The East Kolkata Wetlands are inhabited by 109 villages with a population of 0.15 million as per household census carried in 2003. The area falls under jurisdiction of 4 police stations of Kolkata, North 24 and South 24 Parganas Districts. The settlements fringe the fish farms and are located mostly towards south of the DWF channel or towards the eastern parts of the wetland (Map 2.7). Settlements on the western periphery adjoining the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass Road are comparatively larger as compared to those on the east. The overall population density of the wetland works out to be 859 persons per square kilometer, which compares with the state average (904 persons per sq km). Scheduled caste and tribes form 83% of the population. The average household size is 4.13. Assessment of trends in population growth rates indicates a continuous increase since 1951 with a marginal decline during the decade 1981-91. This trend broadly is commensurate with the overall trend of stabilization of population within Kolkata city, and rapid expansion of sub urban and peri-urban interfaces of the city, including the population within the wetland. Livelihood systems and resource linkages Livelihoods of the wetland communities are distinctly linked to wetland resources, with 74% of the working population drawing sustenance through engagement in fish farming, agriculture and horticulture. The rest of the population seeks livelihoods through seeking employment within the metropolis and its associated areas. As per recent estimates, there are 264 bheries operational on a commercial basis, distributed in four wards , namely Bhangor, Bidhnangar, Sonarpur and Tiljala. The farms vary remarkably in scale and range from a minimum of .37 ha to 144 ha. In terms of location, smaller farms below 2 ha occur mainly in Sonarpur and Tiljala , while large fisheries (>40ha) predominate in Bidhannagar.


Bhangor is characterized by a mixture of small to medium bheries. Individual holdings below 13.3 ha account for 60% of the overall farms. Tenureal arrangements of fish farms has evolved over a period of time , with remarkable changes introduced after the West Bengal Estates Acquisition Act ( 1935), Land Reforms Act (1955) and amendments to the land reforms act bringing fisheries in the purview of the act. Earlier the entire fisheries were vested to a few landlords, which were subsequently leased to fish farmers against payment of royalty. With devolution of the land rights towards the farmers , broadly four forms of tenureship exist, namely a) owner managed , with engagement of labour as required ; b) managed by cooperatives and fishermen groups; c) shared ownership with several leaseholders involved in decision making and profit sharing and d) managed by the state government.

Map 2.7 : Mauzas within East Kolkata Wetlands

Tradition of organic waste reuse forms the base of garbage farming concentrated within Dhapa landfill areas. The entire areas is owned by Kolkata Municipal Corporation, and provided on lease to the farmers. The lease duration generally lasts for a year, creating considerable lack of incentive for investment into long term management. Water is generally sourced from the jheels and fish ponds, with a marginal population depending on monsoons. Rice cultivation is one of the major livelihoods within the wetland.. The land rights have been settled in favour of the Rayats and Bargadars. Though detailed assessments have not been carried out, there is a system of tenancy operating within these lands. Economic profile Incomes of the communities are related to occupation and employment duration. The average work duration of the workforce is only 186 days, with maximum being in South Bidhannagar ( 200


days) and ranging between 175 190 days for the rest. Income accrual across various livelihoods is strongly governed by the presence of unions, particularly within fisheries. Within fisheries, a code of conduct between the unions and fish producers governs the wages paid to labourers and the rate at which labourers should be employed. Aquaculture based production systems below 1.3 ha in size are excluded from this code as labourers working in operation at this scale are not unionized. Employment rates are based on the premise that bheries not requiring to pump sewage water need a higher number of labourers as compared to the ones that have access to pumping facility. Employment is proposed at 1 per 0.4 ha for farms without pumping facility and 1 per 0.7 ha for farms with pumping facility. There is also a production target that needs to be met , which ultimately governs the profitability of the overall operations. Labour employment within the horticulture sector is on a casual basis depending upon the availability from the managers own household and workload; during busy periods of planting and harvesting more labour is likely to be employed. There is also a tendency of seeking employment into neighbouring farms for extra incomes. Paddy farmers of the region are not affiliated to unions, however most of the farmers being members of Local Krishi Samabay. Labour employed within the paddy fields are employed on a casual basis and therefore lack security of regular income. Labourers working for rice farmers usually have their own farms, yet work on the fields of larger farmers to earn extra incomes. Access to economic infrastructure varies within the region across livelihood systems. Within fisheries, most of the pond owners depend significantly on advances from traders to finance their production activities. Such arrangements usually involve managers entering into agreements with aratdaars. Loans are taken in the form of subsidized fish seed, with an undertaking of marketing through the same aratdaar, who arbitrarily charges some fish as repayment and 3% commission on the initial loan. There is a very limited use of formal sources of credit primarily due to difficulty in accessing loans in absence of collateral. Access to markets varies across livelihood systems and also leads to significant differences in incomes. Fisheries being the major economic produce from the wetland have a well established market chain from the producer to the buyer through a system of traders or auctioneers. However, the entire system is biased towards the upper segments of value chain, i.e the auctioneers. On an overall, income statistics indicate a high degree of poverty incidence within the wetland communities. The per capita income of the communities (Rs. 17,000) works out to be only 68% of the state average (Rs. 25,156). Communities engaged in horticulture have average incomes more that the fisheries, with agriculture having the least returns. Spatially one can also observe a correlation of income patterns with overall availability of sewage.

Social Amenities
Access to social amenities within the wetland communities is limited leading to lower quality of life. A survey undertaken by EKWMA in 2008 highlights a stark inadequacy of access to social amenities in particular scarcity of drinking water, inadequate sanitation and health care. As per the survey, 47% of the families have no access to any formal sanitation mechanism. Similarly, only 34% of the families have access to formal water supply mechanisms. Epidemological evidences suggest that the communities living within the wetland are subjected to various kinds of diseases. Workers employed on the fish farms experience a range of health problems predominantly diarrhoea and those related to nutritional deficiencies revealed by the presence of anemia, oedema, night blindness, and bleeding gums.

Community institutions
Panchayats are the key governance structures within the EKW communities. Gram Panchayats (GP) Panchat Samities and Zilla Parishad (ZP) are elected tiers in rural areas. GPs are


amalgamations of 10-15 villages and ZPs consist of a number of Panchayat Samities. GPs and other tiers of panchyati-raj tiers have the critical role at the lowest levels of government in the wetland and are direct representatives of the residents. Beyond the panchayats, there are several producer organizations in the form of unions which have a strong influence on resource use. The labour unions are well established for the fisheries sector which negotiates terms and conditions for both temporary and permanent employees. Daily wage rates, benefits, job specification, minimum employment days, leave and number of employees to be engaged are all governed by agreement between the labour unions and farm managers. The Dakshin 24 Parganas Zilla Bheri Mazdoor Union represents temporary labourers who constitute the majority of the workforce in the fisheries, this union is affiliated to CITU and largely dictates the terms and conditions for employment of fisheries. Similar associations exist for the agriculture farmers and horticulturists, however, they do not play as intense a role in price and determination as in fisheries. The other forms of community institutions present in the area are Self Help Groups promoted through NABARD. Existing SHG members are being paid around Rs. 40 a day for their time by the members of the group. Some federations also act as financial intermediaries between their members SHGs , or between financial institutions and SHGs, but some performs no direct financial function. An assessment of community institutions indicate that the elected bodies lack effective capacity to participate and influence decision making for developmental planning of the region. Similarly, the unions have been successful in ensuring adequate returns to the labour, they have had little influence in enhancing productivity through ensuring better hydrological conditions within the wetland.

There is a multiplicity of line departments and organizations associated with planning and implementation of schemes for EKW. East Kolkata Wetland Management Authority is the nodal agency constituted as per the provisions under the East Kolkata Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Act, 2006. The authority is constituted with the Secretaries of different state govt. departments under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary, Government of West Bengal. The authority has been entrusted with the statutory responsibility for conservation and maintenance of the EKW area. Department of Environment is overall responsible for protection of the EKW as EKWMA is set up under this department. Institute of Environmental Studies and Wetland Management (erstwhile IWMED) are responsible for research and monitoring activities. Department of Land & Land Records has the authority for land transfer and registrations but has a pivotal role in management of land use in the EKW area. As per the operative legislations, all applications for conversion of land are scrutinized by the EKWMA and based on their recommendations; such proposals are sanctioned by the Land & Land Reforms department in exercise of powers under section 4C of Land Reforms Act. Department of Irrigation & Waterways manages the main drainage channel in EKW area. Fisheries get sewage through this channel. This department also has the responsibility for disposal of sewage, regulation of lock gates at pumping stations and maintenance of storm weather flow and sewage channels. Department of Fisheries is responsible for the production and improvement of the sewage fed fisheries in this area. However, this dept has bigger role in fishery and associated activities through formation of fishery co-operative. Department of Forest is responsible for conservation and maintenance of various kinds of trees grown in non-forest areas included in


EKW. Kolkata Municipal Corporation manages the discharge of citys sewage water from its pumping stations, solid waste disposal and land ownership of garbage farms at Dhapa. Department of Panchayat & Rural Development is focused on the non-urban areas which include parts of the EKW , and are authorized to sanction the building plans. The district planning committees of the panchayats are also empowered to co-ordinate development activities in parts of wetlands under their control. Gram Panchayat and Zilla Parishad Local Govt. are elected tiers in rural areas. GPs are amalgamations of 10-15 villages and ZPs consist of a number of Panchayat Samities. GPs and other tiers of panchyati-raj tiers have the critical role at the lowest levels of govt. in the WRR and are direct representatives of the residents of the WRR. Unfortunately these elected bodies because of attendant weaknesses do not have the capacity to modulate and influence decision making of the different line Departments operating in this region. Larger govt. organizations such as the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) usually give little credence to these elected tiers. Kolkata Environmental Improvement Project(KEIP) has investment plans for environmental improvement which are complementary to EKW management. Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) currently assists EKWMA in de-siltation programme and is also a receiver of substantial quantum of the silt for filling for housing purposes. Institute of Environmental Studies and Wetland Management (IESWM) is the most prominent research organization in the Waste Recycling Region (WRR). IESWM was established in 1986 by the Department of Fisheries. Their research mandate covers all of the land-use within the WRR and takes a multidisciplinary focus including social, economic and technical aspects. Currently, IESWM is under the Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal. Central Inland Capture Fisheries is another major research institute having relevance to EKWMA. A number of Universities in West Bengal are carrying out research projects and other activities related to sewage fisheries. The University of Kalyani, for example, held an international conference on Wastewater Fisheries in 1998. Researchers from University of Calcutta and Jadavpur University are also active in this area. Multiplicity of institutions with overlapping mandates and roles make integrated wetland management a complex affair. There is presently no system of assessing the programmes within EKW jointly under an overarching framework.


Review of existing information on various wetland features augmented through GIS mapping, intensive community consultations and participatory rural appraisals indicated the following status and trends: There has been a progressive shift in the land use within EKW leading to a gradual dominance of agriculture, which accounts for ~ 40% of the wetland area. The area under fish farms has reduced from 7,300 ha in 1945 to 5,842 ha in 2003. Construction of fish farms bunds and roads within the fish farms have further reduced the effective area under waterbodies to 2,481 ha. The gradual reduction in waterspread within the wetlands has reduced its capacity to recycle wastes and attenuate floods. Despite having a large direct catchment of 1,625 sq km (including the basins of Kulti, Piyali Bidyadhuree, Adiganaga and Kolkata Municipal Corporation), inflows to the wetland are largely governed by the sewage generated from the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. Of the total flows, more than 95% is siphoned off from the wetland to reduce waterlogging within


the Kolkata city. Drastic reduction of freshwater flows and gradual dominance of marine flows has induced rapid siltation within the system. The carrying capacity of various canals within the KMC has been assessed to be reduced in the range of 15 50% with silt depths ranging between 0.3 1.6 m. Of the 2,481 ha of area under fish ponds, 377 ha has been rendered redundant due to siltation. Management of hydrological regimes within EKW is totally biased towards flood management in Kolkata city through engineering structures, without considering the flow requirements for maintenance of ecological processes within the wetland system. Thus, on one hand opportunities for natural cleansing of the channels through high velocity monsoon flows are lost; failure to effectively management water regimes integrating hydrological processes has led to adoption of cost intensive and unsustainable solutions for water management. EKW, through its natural functioning plays an important role in improving water quality. However, increasing concentration of heavy metals in the sewage used in the wetlands attributed to unregulated discharge of industrial pollution poses a major threat both to the ecosystem as well as to the communities living in and around. There has been a rapid change in biodiversity associated with the wetlands due to changes in hydrological regimes and land use. Of the 271 species of birds recorded form the wetlands, only 162 species have been variably noted during the last 30 years. It is assessed that 109 species of birds have become locally extinct, majority being aquatic birds. Similarly, there has been significant loss of vegetational diversity, particularly those of mangroves and other brackishwater species. The wetland which in early twentieth century teemed with a large spectrum of brackishwater and freshwater water fishes, only supports cultivable freshwater species. The presence of invasive exotic fish species Clarius guripinus and Pangasius sutchi pose great threat to the native diversity. The sewage fed fisheries (SFF), for which the wetland is known globally, has been constrained due to inadequate management of water regimes, technology integration and weak marketing, post marketing and value addition opportunities. Baseline data on fish farms collected by the authority indicate a relatively higher sewage access, productivity and net returns to the large farmers as compared to the smaller ones. The current farm management systems indicate a skewed incentive towards the large private farmers, as against the small and medium size cooperatives. Despite living within a highly resource rich area, the communities living within EKW have high rates of poverty incidence. The average household income of the wetland communities at Rs.23,200 is only 68% of the state average. Seventy seven percent of the population is under poverty line. Regional disparities within poverty incidence have been observed, with the southern region settlements faring lower than the northern region. Less than 35% of the total population has access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities leading to high frequency of waterborne diseases. Less than one fourth of the total households have access to formal economic infrastructure for credit and saving needs, thereby limiting opportunities for receiving equitable share of economic enterprise. The current institutional arrangements are not effective limiting implementation of the East Kolkata Wetlands (Conservation and Management Act), 2006. There is, on an overall, focus on patch management with engineering measures ignoring interlinkages with hydrological processes and biodiversity. Involvement of multiple agencies with sectoral


approaches limits adoption of a holistic management approach and strategy. Absence of appropriate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms limits assessment of impacts of implementation of action plans.


Based on assessment of hydrological, ecological and socio economic aspects and review of management practices under implementation through various agencies the following key issues have been identified to address the conservation and management of East Kolkata Wetlands: Absence of policies and strategies to guide coordinated actions within river basin linking coastal processes There is a marked absence of policies and strategies to guide coordinated action at East Kolkata Basin level. Adoption of sectoral strategies without assessing overall linkages and impacts on wetlands within the basin has led to upstream downstream conflicts thereby threatening ecological and economic security of the region. Linkages of the system with coastal processes have been totally ignored and not clearly understood. Full range of ecosystem services of East Kolkata Wetlands not integrated into developmental plan East Kolkata Wetlands through their natural functioning form the basis of various developmental activities. However, developmental planning has failed to take into cognizance the role played by these systems. Emphasis has been on engineering measures for quick economic gains at the cost of ecological sustainability. Planning has recognized only the provisioning services of the wetland and to a smaller extent its capacity to regulate wastes, at the same time ignoring other services as flood attenuation, and support to biodiversity. The lack of basic understanding of the nature of wetland ecosystem has led to overall loss of benefits accrued from the wetland through natural processes and functions. An innovative approach needs to be adopted for developmental planning integrating ecosystem services of the wetland. Such an approach would help to mitigate floods, regenerate water quality, enhance resource base and improve overall quality of the life of the marginalized community. Water allocation biased towards human uses ignoring ecological aspects The entire focus of water management so far has been on protecting the ever expanding needs of Kolkata City, without assessing the implication for downstream ecosystems. Emphasis has been on unsustainable engineering solutions, without considering options which would be beneficial for the ecosystem as well as for the resource use that prevails within the wetland. Balancing water use for human and ecological purposes is a critical issue that needs to be addressed for sustainable management of EKW. Lack of involvement of stakeholders particularly marginalized communities Management planning for natural resources management essentially requires involvement of concerned stakeholders in both planning and implementation. The information base used for planning does not effectively address the needs and capacities of the local communities which derive sustenance from the wetland and are central to achieving wise of the system. Lack of baseline information for planning and decision making The baseline data on EKW is grossly inadequate on all aspects creating several grey areas for management planning. Inventorization and assessment of hydrological processes, biodiversity and socio economic aspects are critical to management planning and baseline information needs to be developed.


Absence of effective institutional mechanisms Lack of effective institutional mechanism to coordinate activities at various levels within the state government for conservation and development of EKW and its basin is a major factor for degradation of the wetlands. Although several agencies are involved in the implementation of the sectoral activities for socioeconomic development but often they lead to impacts on regenerative capacity of the wetlands. Strengthening the capacities of coordinating agency, concerned government agencies and communities is critical to overall development of policy, planning and implementation processes.



Management Planning for EKW mandates recognition of the full range of ecosystem services and biodiversity of the wetland system and their interlinkages with hydrological and ecological processes within a river basin framework. The river basin approach to address the management issues of EKW needs to take into account the external, natural and induced factors and their influence on the wetland, calling for maintenance of ecosystem characteristics and sustainable utilization of resources for benefit of the stakeholders, particularly local communities. Key guiding principles for management planning include maintenance of ecological character (defined as combination of ecosystem components, processes, and benefits / services that characterize the wetland at the time of designation) and wise use (Maintenance of ecological character achieved through implementation of ecosystem approaches within the context of sustainable development). The evaluation of wetland features, as summarized in ensuing Chapter of the management plan, indicates that the current management planning processes focus on a limited range of wetland services, most prominently provisioning services at the cost of regulating and supporting services. Most of the wetland features and natural regimes have been oriented (by natural and anthropogenic stressors) to support production systems within the wetland. The sustainability of such a management approach is limited, as it is centers on a few wetland processes (primarily nutrient cycling) which are known to operate within ecological thresholds and if not managed within limits can cause the wetland system to change states and functions. Currently, the limited information available on ecological and hydrological features limit making any categorical projection of these thresholds, but there are several trends features which highlight the need to adopt more holistic management approach considering all wetland components and processes and a wider range of ecosystem services. The current chapter sets out the management planning framework, including setting the management goal and purpose, objectives, targets and strategies for realizing these, and an implementation arrangement for actual delivery of the management plan.


The goal of management planning is conservation and sustainable utilization of ecosystem services and biodiversity of EKW for ecological security and economic improvement of stakeholders. The purpose is to establish effective management practices for EKW through coordinated actions at river basin level integrating coastal processes.

Integrated management planning for EKW needs to be based on the principles of management zoning as a basis for targeting interventions to achieve conservation and wise use of wetland system. The Ramsar framework for wetland inventory assessment and monitoring which is a multiscalar approach has been adopted for the purpose. This hierarchal approach comprises progression in scale from river basin to sub-basin and individual wetland site is consistently is the river basin approach adopted for sustainable management of EKW. Interconnectivity in management planning at different hierarchal scales ensures maintenance of ecological integrity of the wetland ecosystems. For the purpose of achieving integration of EKW within river basin and coastal zone management framework, it is important to consider at least the direct catchment of the wetland system as the focus of management. The wetland area, extending to 12,500 ha needs to be identified as the core zone managed as per the provisions laid under the East Kolkata Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Act, 2006. The buffer would include the catchment areas having direct influence on


the wetland, wherein it needs to be ensured that the connectivity of hydrological regimes and ecological processes are not interfered with. Developmental planning within this zone needs to be harmonized with ecological character of the wetland system. The current institutional arrangements would therefore need revision in order to enable cross- sectoral and inter departmental coordination. Critical to this institutional arrangement is establishment of a multiscalar and hierarchical Wetland Inventory, Assessment and Monitoring System that supports decision making integrating developmental planning at the river basin, sub basin, wetland complex and wetland levels. At local scales, an important approach to diversification of livelihood systems would be to promote ecotourism development The planning framework envisages ecosystem conservation and sustainable resource development and livelihood improvement supported by institutional development; communication, education and public awareness; as the key management components. The ecosystem conservation would comprise management delineation and zoning; water management and biodiversity conservation as its subcomponents. Ecotourism development, sustainable fisheries development and micro-enterprise development / improvement of quality of life are subcomponents for sustainable resource development and livelihood improvement.


The specific management objectives for the various management components are outlined in Table 1. For each of the objectives, targets, indicators and strategies have also been identified.


Project Goal level Commitment of Government of West Bengal to reorganize EKWMA with sufficient legal and financial powers to implement management action plan Local communities have continued participation in the conservation and management of the EKW and its catchments Government is willing to reconsider the current water management policy Sustainable yield of resources from the wetlands Project Objectives level Trained manpower are available for management of the wetland system Communities are sufficiently organized to engage in and take ownership of the project activities The local community requests EKWMA and other institutions to offer advice on improved aquaculture and agriculture practices/ appropriate regulatory mechanisms for sustainable management of resources A long-term financial framework is established for maintaining the expanded EKWMA programme Project Output level Qualified trainers and experts are available Strategies offer flexibility for adaptation Fool proof monitoring mechanisms and application of scientific approach for resolving conflicting issues Capable NGOs are available to assist community-based activities


Table 1 : Objectives, Targets, Indicators and Strategies

Objectives Targets Indicators Strategies

Ecosystem Conservation 1 Management zoning identifying entire wetland area as core zone and direct basin as buffer zone

Demarcation of EKW wetland core and buffer areas using integrated Wetland Inventory, Assessment and Monitoring Approach

Mapping of wetland extent at 1:10,000 scale for the entire direct catchments Creation of an information system enabling assessment of impacts of developmental planning on wetlands at multiple scales Regeneration of lean seasons flows within the 6 streams

Establishing hierarchical and multiscalar inventory of hydrological, ecological, socioeconomic and institutional features to support management planning and decision making Enforcing provisions of the East Kolkata (Conservation and Management) Act, 2006 to regulate development activities within the core zone Stipulate guidelines and safeguards for different landscape elements within the wetland boundary, eg, guidelines for housing etc. Removal of encroachments, solid waste management, removal of intercepting roads , construction of culverts, and appropriate riparian zone management for Nowee 27 km, Sunti 14.77 km , Nonagong 25.50 km, Piyali 15.82 km , and Bidyadhari 17.74 km Integrating implementation of Pollution Abatement Plan for Adiganga under implementation through NRCD with management plan implementation Desiltation of the inflowing sewers through removal of 725,000 Mcum of silt Upgradation of Palmers Bazaar and Balygunge Drainage Pumping Station Diversion of monsoon flows to primary and secondary channels of the wetland system Selective dredging and desiltation within the Northern and eastern zones of the wetland (11.23 sq km) to an average depth of 1 m (7.5 MCM). This area should be connected to the SWF channel and Bagjola Canal, which would significantly reduce the pressures on the latter.

Ensuring hydrological connectivity of EKW with freshwater and coastal processes at basin level

Rejuvenation of derelict water courses of the Kulti Upper , Piyali-Bidyadhuri and Adiganga sub basins

Enhancing water circulation and flushing within the wetland

Increase in inflows to the wetland by 55% Restoration of hydraulic capacity of the inflowing sewers to 80% Increase in water spread area within the wetland by 32% and water holding capacity by 146%

Flow velocity within the KMC sewers enhanced to a minimum of 0.8 m / hr 60% of the upstream sewage generation is passed through the wetland Decrease in annual cost of desiltation Revitalization of ponds presently non functional due to excessive siltation






Improving solid management


Reduce percolation of solid waste to EKW through Dhapa landfill Ensuring a rational water allocation system at basin level integrating ecological demands with human demands

Improve quality of sewage Organized availability soil waste

Management of Dhapa landfill Improved waste segregation and handling Environmental Flow Assessment of East Kolkata Basin for identification of optimal allocation scenarios for human needs (fisheries and agriculture,) considering ecosystem requirements (maintenance of biodiversity, ecosystem health). Based on evaluation of scenarios, the existing operation of regulators would be adjusted / synchronized to meet the desired water allocation objectives. The allocation pattern would be periodically reviewed and adapted based on monitoring and evaluation of ecosystem features and trends in a stakeholder driven process.

Rationalizing allocation of water for human and ecological purposes

Stakeholder endorsed water management plan formulated and implemented. Allocation of sewage and monsoon runoff for East Kolkata Wetlands for maintaining its hydrological functioning and biodiversity.

Biodiversity conservation through habitat improvement of endangered and indigenous species a) Enhancement of Water bird population Enhance bird diversity through habitat restoration and protection measures Revegetation of peripheral areas of identified bheries to provide cover and nesting to birds Improved understanding of the health of birds particularly avian influenza as the birds in the region are at high risks Waterbird diversity abundance is enhanced and Involvement of conservation local communities in waterbird and habitat

Populations of all breeding waterbirds species is increased through improvement of breeding habitats and conditions Basic scientific information on population dynamics, feeding habits, and specific requirements of key bird species is available Long term surveillance information on the health of

Involvement of government agencies, academic institutions and NGOs in inventorization and monitoring of waterbirds and their habitat Networking with state and national government and non-government agencies and institutions to implement cooperative and collaborative actions for waterbird management and conservation Establish a long-term intensive monitoring programme for wetland bird species Establish a bird migration study programme for breeding and migratory waterbirds in collaboration with the local and international expertise






birds is available Establish a bird health surveillance and monitoring programme for breeding and migratory waterbirds, in collaboration with local and international expertise b) Enhancement fish diversity of Achieving self sustaining native and endemic fish populations through targeted restocking Enhancing diversity of native and endemic non commercial species Population endemic enhanced of native and fish species Establishment of mini gene bank with cryopreserved milt of several threatened and commercial species which can be obtained from National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resource (NBFGR) Restriction in use of insecticides, pesticides and other harmful chemicals in culture ponds of threatened species Restricting unapproved exotic species in aquaculture ponds such as Tilapia which predate on other species Captive breeding of endangered fish through various techniques (rearing a brood stock, selection of spawners, induced breeding, spawning, incubation and hatching of eggs, larval rearing and propagation) Culturing of ornamental fish species using various techniques including establishment of specially designed aquariums Development of a comprehensive ecotourism plan with the detailed zoning plan of wetland taking into consideration the role of wetland in resource recovery and maintenance of biodiversity Development of key sites for bird watching and provided facilities to observe birds at different spots Construction of boardwalks to have closer look of functioning of bheries and some strategic locations identified for biodiversity conservation Construction of bird hides at key locations The sites of attraction in and around wetland are enhanced Development of interpretation centre at key location for awareness

Overall fish diversity is enhanced with viable populations of endemic / endangered / indigenous species

Ecotourism development for enhancing awareness, income generation and livelihood diversification

Enhanced visitation rate to the wetlands Ecotourism as a viable source of livelihoods for wetland communities The waste recycling region, biodiversity and other key features are not impacted by ecotourism activities

A comprehensive ecotourism plan with a detailed zoning plan of the wetland system available More visitors are attracted for visiting unique features such as Waste recycling region, operation of bheries, bird watching, water sports, and enjoy the natural beauty






and equipped facilities for the visitors to stay for longer time Community is involved in ecotourism related activities are earning from these activities Trained field guides available to interact with tourists for awareness generation Interpretation centres established to generate awareness about biodiversity and ecological significance of the wetlands

generation Provision for recreational facilities in line with landscape features of the wetland system

Sustainable Resource Development and Livelihood Improvement 9 Sustainable fisheries Rejuvenation of derelict Sustained fish production from development bheries EKW bheries Improved allocation and sustained production in existing bheries

Sewage allocation mechanisms reviewed , including assessment of the carrying capacity of the wetland system to support sewage fed fisheries Establish additional community owned hatcheries (4 nos.) each with a production capacity of 1.5 million fingerlings / operation Improve harvesting and post harvest infrastructure through construction of utility centres (for improvement and maintenance of crafts and gears) and augmenting infrastructure for existing 7 fish markets Introduce low irrigation rabi crops and medicinal plants for enhancing returns to farmers Promoting rainwater harvesting in agricultural fields to enhance soil moisture and availability of freshwater


Sustainable development


Enhanced efficiency of water use within agriculture Diversification of cropping patterns

Water use within agriculture is optimized Communities have enhanced returns from the agriculture







Livelihood improvement

Reduced poverty EKW communities


Enhanced quality of life through access to basic sanitation and safe drinking water amenities

system without creating stress/negative impacts on wetland ecosystem services Diversification of livelihood avenues, reduced dependence on wetland based livelihood systems Increase in income, reduced mobility Increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation

Microenterprise development Comprehensive safe drinking water and sanitation coverage, improvement in community health infrastructure

Institutional Development 12 Enhanced management effectiveness of EKWMA

Restructuring of EKWMA for enhanced management effectiveness Capacity building of EKWMA and concerned stakeholder departments, agencies, NGOs and communities on various aspects of wetland management Establishment of a results based monitoring and evaluation system to guide implementation

Increased coordination


Review of the current institutional structure with reference to the needs of integrated management Development of detailed Terms of Reference for various functions of EKWMA Development of a three tiered results based framework for monitoring and evaluation of management action plan implementation Need based capacity building of of EKWMA and concerned stakeholder departments, agencies, NGOs and communities on various aspects of wetland management Communication, education, participation and awareness to various stakeholders on values and functions of EKW

Streamlined management within the direct catchment of EKW Strengthened implementation of the East Kolkata Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Act, 2006 Enhanced managerial capacity within EKWMA for integrated management Multi-stakeholder Forum for conflict resolution and support to stakeholder led management established



The MAP has been organized to ensure that responsibility and accountability for delivery of the project outputs and results are clearly defined. The EKWMA Governing Body will serve as the executive board, chaired by the CM and responsible for overall direction and performance. EKW Steering Committee, a High Level Empowered Committee will be responsible for inter-agency cooperation and overall achievement of the project aims. A Project Implementation Committee (PIC) consisting of senior staff from EKWMA, Forests and Wildlife, Agriculture, Fisheries, Irrigation and Flood Control, Tourism, Revenue and other concerned agencies will be established with administrative and other support provided by EKWMA. The Chief Technical Officer, EKWMA will be the convenor of the team The Project Management Unit (PMU) will be small project management group within EKWMA responsible for assisting the completion and approval of operational plans, undertaking progress and financial monitoring and reporting, and providing technical data and coordination support where required The terms of reference for this unit are: assisting the completion and approval of operational plans, undertaking progress and financial monitoring output verification and reporting, providing technical data and coordination support where required

A Water Management Team is proposed within EKWMA composing of experts and engineers from EKWMA, IFCD, Minor Irrigation and Department of Revenue staff, responsible for establishing the optimum flow regime, demarcation of the wetland boundaries and water quality management. The terms of reference for this team are: Assessment of hydrological regimes of the wetland at basin level Assessment of water requirements for various stakeholders and usages, including for ecological usages Coordinating with external expert for Environmental Flow Assessment

A Fisheries Development Team is proposed within the EKWMA, to be responsible for providing technical support for community-based aquaculture, fisheries management policy development and enhancement, and post harvest technical support in fish processing and marketing. The terms of reference for this unit are: Development and implementation of a sustainable fisheries plan for EKW Assess the carrying capacity of aquaculture systems and suggest remedial measures as required Facilitate community groups to develop and implement fisheries policy and regulation Undertake initiatives for improving post harvest management, processing and marketing

A Biodiversity Conservation Team is proposed within the EKWMA responsible for habitat management including conservation of waterfowl populations, wetland biodiversity and ecotourism development.


A Community Development Team is proposed within EKWMA and responsible for microplanning, community organization, community activities related to watershed management and fisheries development, micro-enterprises development and public awareness and education, including ecotourism development. The terms of reference for this unit are: Support for community organizations involvement in the project PRA and community involvement inputs Community organizations leadership and capacity building Micro-planning and community review of project operational plans Technical assistance in micro-enterprises development and alternative livelihoods

The project management arrangements will need to meet certain standards for effective implementation of the MAP. Specific strategies for ensuring this include: Establishing the project as a distinct, mission-oriented entity and funding mechanism, separate from the regular government services; Further developing the project management capacity within EKWMA; Directly involving communities in the selection and implementation of project field interventions and disbursements; Formulating agreements between EKWMA and the appropriate agencies to provide technical advice in the implementation of specified components of the project; Formulating agreements between EKWMA and community organizations regarding implementation of specified components of the project; and Developing various project operational plans which will guide the delivery of the specified project outputs.

It is proposed to establish a EKW Conservation Fund within which separate accounts can be set up for specific projects funded by Government of India and international donors. The fund utilization would be directly limited to objectives and strategies within the Management Action Plan. Independent accounting and reporting procedures would be adopted for the fund under specified terms of reference. The operational plans are intended to provide field level details of project activities necessary to achieve the outputs and outcomes specified in the Management Action Plan. They will provide the basis for agreements between EKWMA, other concerned government agencies, and community organizations. The scope and boundaries of the plans will depend upon the micro-planning process supervised by EKWMA staff. The operational plans will be reviewed and endorsed by communities to ensure a participatory and transparent process. They will provide the guide for allocation of funds for specified activities in support of sustainable resource management. The Steering Committee will give final approval for proceeding with implementation of operational plans. Quarterly progress reports will be submitted for evaluation by the PIC, and necessary adjustments made based on performance. Monitoring reports will be submitted to the Steering Committee, the EKWMA Governing Body and project funding organizations. The Project Implementation Committee (PIC) and the PMU have a key role in coordinating field implementation. The PMU will organize technical and organizational support from government advisors and qualified NGOs for implementation of specific activities by community organizations, principally, local panchayat or other authorities, youth associations, women associations and related self-help groups.


MANAGEMENT ZONING Inventory and assessment A multiscalar and hierarchical inventory and assessment of wetlands at basin level (Lower Gangetic Delta 1: 1,000,000 scale), EKW Basin (1:250,000 scale), EKW and associated wetlands (1:50,000 scale) and EKW (1:10,000 scale) is proposed to be developed to support management planning and decision making. The integrated inventory system would base its structure on the interlinkages of ecological character with factors and features at multiple scale. This will be integrated with ah would assist the likelihood of changes in ecological character and response strategies required for the same. The WIAMS would be integrated on a GIS platform to enable spatial analysis and representation of the inventory information. Zoning and Regulation It is proposed to undertake management zoning with EKW as core zone and the direct catchment as the buffer zone. Management of the core zone would be as per provisions laid under the East Kolkata Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Act, 2006. Emphasis would be on enhancing water spread area to the extent possible. Area under settlements will be restricted and suitable guidelines enforced for constructions in purview of the wetland characteristics. Focus on management in the buffer zone would be to enhance hydrological connectivity with freshwater and coastal processes, and ensure that the development activities including Eco-Tourism do not fragment the wetlands further and take into account the likely impacts on wetland system. WATER MANAGEMENT Enhancing hydrological connectivity within the direct basin through rejuvenation of derelict water courses The water courses of Suntee, Nowaee, Nonagong, Adiganga, Bidhyadhuree and Piyali are proposed to be rejuvenated through selective dredging, training of water courses, removal of encroachments of channel bed, construction of culverts for smooth flow of water. Overall, 100.83 km of the five distributaries would be surveyed and specific interventions taken for management of main channel as well as riparian areas. Rehabilitation of inflow regimes Selective dredging of KMC network and primary and secondary channel network within EKW and its downstream reaches is proposed to be carried out to enhance inflow regimes to the wetland from the KMC. The Palmers Bazaaar Pumping Station and Ballygunge Drainage and Pumping Station are proposed to be upgraded to ensure effective sewage delivery. Additional sewage flow from Jyoti Basu Nagar has also been considered.


Ingress of Tidal Flows: The Circular canal-New-Cut Krishnapur Bhangarkata khal connects the Hooghly and the Kulti rivers. There is a Lock gate at the head of the off take point of the Cirular canal from the Hoghly. The discharging capacity of the lock channel is estimated to be of the order of 28 cumecs (1000 cusecs) at the high tide level. The Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) Ltd. proposed to utilize about 6 cumecs (200 cusecs) of tidal ingress through the Chitpur Lock channel for drinking water supply of the New Town. The spare capacity of another 6 cumecs can be utilized for the enhancing the inflow from the Krishnapur canal. The quantum of flow will, however, be variable depending upon the tide levels. Diversion of the Storm and Dry Weather Flows from Drainage Channels It was discussed earlier that the dry and storm weather flow from the southern part of KMC discharge through the Tollygunj- Panchannagram Khal and the Intercepting Channel and pumped into the Suburban Head Cut at Chowbhaga. Both the canals are interlinked. There are some linkages between the EKW and these two canals. The estimated dry weather flow is about 3 cumecs (100 cusecs). The effluents passing through these canals can be intercepted and diverted to the EKW. It is also possible to enhance the sewage flow into the DWF channel through pumping just upstream of the Bantala Regulator. A part of the storm weather flow of the KMC area, passing through the SWF Channel to the Kuti River can be diverted/pumped out to increase the water spread area within the EKW. The Bagjola Khal with a catchment area of 180 sq km is stressed drainage artery. If a part of the drainage discharge of the Bagjola Khal can be diverted to the Krishnapur Khal and then to EKW both the purposes of relieving the Bagjola Khal and enhancement of inflows to the EKW can be achieved. There were some linkages between the Bagjola Khal and the Krishnapur Khal. Most of the linkages channels are defunct. Some of these channels (Chowrasia Khal etc.) can be resuscitated for the purpose. Better Utilization of the effluents of the fisheries passing through internal drainage channels of the EKW The effluents passing the internal drainage channels are utilized by the farmers who are located close to the fisheries. The agricultural land located away from the fisheries is placed at disadvantageous position as effluents do not reach them naturally though gravity. There is a distinct possibility to regulate the levels of the drainage channels (like Sumid giri Khal) can be regulated to irrigate the agricultural fields. This is widely practiced in other estuarine districts. Enhancement of the Water holding capacity of the Wetlands The strategy of enhancing the water holding capacity of the wetlands deserves serious consideration. Fast urbanization in the periphery of the wetlands and the Kolkata metropolitan agglomerate in the east as well as in the north is likely pose a serious problem in regarding the urban area. The flood and drainage management of the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA) will call for combination of strategies. The enhancement of the capacity of the wetland with the concurrence of the stakeholders to absorb part of the excess rainfall offers eco-friendly and less costly solution to this pro this emerging problem.


Water allocation for human and ecological purposes A comprehensive assessment of current water regimes and requirements of the wetland system to maintain its ecosystem processes and functioning is proposed to be carried out. An Environmental flow assessment would enable identifying the key requirements of regimes for human and ecological purposes. The key outcomes of the process would be: a) Assessment of current hydrological regimes of the wetland system and linkages with river basin and coastal processes b) Assessment of current and future demands of water for human and ecological purposes c) Identification of tradeoffs d) Suggest alternate management options for hydrological regimes, including supply as well as demand side interventions The assessment would be used as a basis for governing all hydraulic structures and water management infrastructure within the upstream and downstream reaches of the wetland system. BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION Habitat restoration The emphasis of habitat restoration would be on waterbirds, which are integrative ecosystem indicators. It is proposed to carry out systematic inventorization and assessment of key waterbird habitats within EKW basin, i.e. Bartee Beel, Gobadiabad Beel, Nalban and Goltala. Plantation of phragmites, shola, typha and other indigenous spp would be undertaken, as required through detailed field level assessments. It is also proposed to create community reserves at Goltala, Nalban, Birtee and Gobariabad beels to restore waterbird habitats. Bird protection committees with conservation incentives will be formed to control poaching. Habitat conservation efforts would be strengthened through networking with national and international treaties. Specific areas for water habitat improvement are indicated in Map 4.1.


. Map 4.1 : Waterbird Areas for Habitat Improvement Enhancing fish biodiversity With focus on culture fisheries, there has been a significant loss of indigeneous species. It is therefore proposed to establish a center for culture of indigenous fish species Goltala. Units for standardization of captive breeding of endangered species are also proposed to be established at Captain bhery. ECOTOURISM DEVELOPMENT Ecotourism development has been proposed as one of the key strategies for balancing the conservation and livelihood needs of the communities. EKWMA has decided to encourage ecotourism in the EKW area especially in Noncore-Wetlands for the enhancement of the livelihood of the local stakeholders. A detail guideline is also prepared by the EKWMA. Creation of necessary infrastructure is therefore proposed to support ecotourism development within the wetland system. An interpretation center will be constructed north of Krishnapur Canal with facilities as panel displays, interactive maps, 3D models, dioramas, audiovisual rooms, viewing galleries, play areas. Development of recreational facilities as board walks, nature trails, guided boat rides, landscape gardens as effective tool for communicating ecosystem values as well as livelihood diversification, of communities will be undertaken. Specific training programmes for various target groups will also be undertaken as an integral part of the activities. Signage, communication and transport facilities will be developed for complete tourist education and recreation experience. The entire component would be guided by an Ecotourism Master Plan which would assess the potential of the site, propose exact location of the infrastructure, and suggest business models for sustenance of facilities. The emphasis would be on community 44

management of the infrastructure. Map 4.2 and 4.3 present the access to wetlands and locations of proposed infrastructure.

Map 4.3 : Ecotourism Access to Wetland SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND LIVELIHOOD IMPROVEMENT Sustainable Fisheries Development Enhancement of fish yield The current availability of fingerlings is not adequate to meet the requirements of the culture fisheries operations. Four hatcheries are therefore proposed to be established at Dhapa-Manpur, Tardah-Kapasiti, Kantipota, and Kharki with production capacity of 1.5 million fingerlings /operation to ensure better availability of fingerlings within the wetland area. The management be entrusted within fisher self help groups. Microfinance linked desiltation programme be implemented for bheries 277 bheries facing siltation problem. Improvement of harvesting and post harvesting Two community utility centers are proposed to be established at Chaubhaga and Bamanghata for improvement and maintenance of crafts and gears. Infrastructure for seven fish markets (Krishnapur, Chingrighata, Goltala, Chaubhaga, Bamanghata, Garia 45

and Gangajoara) will also be improved through construction of sheds, vehicle transportation facility, water and electricity access, storage facilities etc.

Map 4.4 : Location of Hatcheries to be constructed

Map 4.5: Location of Craft and Utility Centers and Fish markets to be improved 46

Sustainable Agriculture Development Promoting rainwater harvesting Rainwater harvesting units will be promoted in agricultural fields to enhance availability of freshwater within the agricultural fields Diversification of cropping pattern Low irrigated rabi season crops (mung bean, mustard, chili, cotton); high value vegetables; floriculture (jasmine, marigold, sunflower) and medicinal plants (tulsi , ghritokumari)are proposed to be introduced in 1,000 ha of agricultural lands for crop diversification and enhancing returns to farmers. Livelihood Improvement Microenterprise development Vegetation based micro enterprise (150 units), ornamental fish culture (300 units), Goatery (250 units), Piggery (250 units), fish cum duck rearing ( 300 units) are proposed to be developed for livelihood diversification of EKW communities. Safe drinking water 280 safe drinking water systems are proposed to be constructed for enhancing freshwater availability within the wetland communities. Comprehensive sanitation coverage within the wetland system will be ensured through establishment of 3,000 ecosan units. Institutional Development Restructuring EKWMA EKWMA is proposed to be restructured for effective management planning and coordination amongst the line departments and agencies. Governing Body be established chaired by the Chief Minister/Chief Secretary for overall policy directions and performance. High level steering committee is proposed to be constituted below the governing body for ensuring interagency cooperation. Project Implementation Committee are proposed to be constituted with representation of all line departments for MAP implementation. Scientific and community advisory groups be constituted to advise on implementation. Implementation of specific action plans will be undertaken through project management units. Capacity Building Technical and infrastructural capacity of EKWMA will be enhanced through training on wetland management and related aspects and procurement of necessary equipment. Multistake holder working groups will be established to resolve conflicts and develop shared vision for management planning. Monitoring and evaluation Results based monitoring and evaluation at activity, output, outcome and impact level be developed to guide implementation. Inventory and assessment information will support implementation and midterm corrections. 47

Components and Activities
1.1 Rate Physical Financial ( Rs. Lakhs)

Ecosystem Conservation
Management zoning and regulation


i) ii) iii) 1.2

Mapping and ground truthing Zone delineation Regulatory regimes

100.00 50.00 50.00 20,252.25

Water Management


Enhancing water flusing and circulation a) Rejuvenation of derelict water courses within Lake Basin b) Rehabilitation of inflow regimes Slective dredging and desilting Within EKW KMC sewer network Primary and secondary channel network within EKW Upgradation and augmentation of PBPS and BDPS 45 cum 725,000.00 cum 326.25 593.00 6,400.00 100 Lakh per km 100.83 km 10,083.00



Water quality improvement a) Relocation of industries b) Soild Waste / sewage Management Managing Dhapa fill Organizing solid waste availability c) Establishijng ecosan units 20,0 00 per unit 12,000.00 units 300.00 50.00 2,400.00



Water allocation for human and ecological purposes a) Environmental Flow Assessment Assessment Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation 100.00



Biodiversity Conservation



Waterbird Conservation i) Inventorization and assessment Species wise estimates of waterbird populations Key biodiversity assessment Human activities and their impacts Migration studies (bird banding and satellite and VHF tracking ) Avian influenza surveillance ii) Habitat restoration iii) Rehabilitation of threatened / rare species iv) Control of poaching Formation of bird protection committees v) Establishment of community reserves Survey and demarcation 50.00 200 200.00 50.00 100



Components and Activities

Habitat inventorization and avifauna relationships Identification of critical species for protection Community consultation for compensation provisions vi) Monitoring and Research vii) Capacity building Training Infrastructure development viii) Networking with national / international treaties b) Enhancing fish biodiversity i) Standardization of captive breeding of endangered species ii) Culture of indegeneous fish species c) Rehabilitation of aquatic vegetation



Financial ( Rs. Lakhs)

200.00 200.00 20.00 200.00

5,000,000.00 5,000,000.00

2 2

unit units

100.00 100.00 100.00


Sustainable Resource Development and Livelihood Improve

Sustainable Fisheries Development a) Enhancement of fish yield



i) Rejuventation of derelict ponds

i) Establishment of new hatcheries ii) Sustainable management of exisiting hatcheries b) Improvement of harvesting and post harvesting infrastrcuture

250,000.00 2,000,000 2,000,000

per bhery per unit per unit

93 4 4

bheries units units

232.50 80.00 80.00

i) Establishment of common utility center for crafts and gears

ii) Improvement of fish markets iii) Strenghtening fish cooperative soceities

1,000,000.0 0 5,000,000.0 0

per unit per mkt

4 7

units mkts

40.00 350.00 50.00 273.50


Sustainable agriculture and horticulture development a) Promoting rain water harvesting b) Diversification of cropping pattern Agriculture Horticulture High value vegetables Floriculture Medicinal plants 60 60 60 ha ha ha 25,000.00 30,000.00 30,000.00 per ha per ha per ha 15.00 18.00 18.00 470 420 ha ha 25,000.00 25,000.00 per ha per ha 117.50 105.00


Livelihood Improvement
a) Micro enterprise Development Vegetation based micro enterprise Ornamental fish culture Goatery Piggery Fish cum duck rearing


80,000.00 100,000.00 80,000.00 75,000.00 85,000.00

per unit per unit per unit per unit per unit

50 100 120 120 150

units units units units units

40.00 100.00 96.00 90.00 127.50

b) Improvement of quality of life Safe drinking water


per unit




Communication , Education and Public Awareness



Components and Activities

3.1 Ecotourism Development a) Development of recreational facilities
Guided boat rides Watch Towers



Financial ( Rs. Lakhs) 5,307.50 13.50

150,000.00 400,000.00 50,000.00 15,000.00 125,000.00 250,000.00 1,000,000.00 100,000.00

per unit per unit per sqm per sqm per unit per unit per unit per unit
per unit per unit per unit

1.00 3.00

units units sqm sqm units units units units

1.50 12.00

b) Development of visitor education facilities Interpretation Center Dharamtala Pachuria Fish museum -Nalabana Endagered species aquarium Mangroves and people exhibits Wetland Parks Bheries exhibits

10,000 1,000 2427

5,000.00 150.00 2.50 10.00 20.00 7.00


c) Infrastructure Development Accommodation Signage Information kiosks

2,500,000 50,000.00 500,000.00


units units units

75.00 4.50 25.00



Publication of posters, brochures and booklets



Organization of special events


Nature Camps World Wetland Day and other special occasions

4.1 4.2 4.3

Institutional Development
Strengthening / Reorganizing EKWA Multistakeholder groups Capacity Building i) Training EKWA and other concerned government agencies Communities

50.00 50.00 650.00

100 300

ii) Infrastructure Development

250 500.00


Monitoring and Evaluation

i) Wetland monitoring

Hydrological Ecological Socioeconomic and Livelihoods

150.00 150.00 100.00

Establishment of Wetaland Monitoring Laboratory Building Equipment Vehicles and Boats Personnel Monitoring ii) Management Plan monitoring