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Campaign launched to preserve famous Mirik Lake

Darjeeling (WB): An environment group in Mirik in Darjeeling hills has launched a campaign to demand the tourist town's famous Mirik lake, that has shrunk in size, be included in a central government project for conservation of water sources.

"The wetland (Mirik lake) is nature's gift to us. However, we are running the risk of losing it because of increased human intervention. The total area of the wetland has already been reduced to less than 100 hectares from its original spread of 125 hectares because of pollution caused by effluents and reclamation by landfill," said Gyalbo Lama, a member of the environment group, Bio-diversity Management Committee.

The committee has already embarked on a 20-day signature campaign, seeking support of both local people and visitors in its effort to protect and preserve the wetland that has shrunk in size, Lama said.

"Our appeal to all concerned is to immediately put an end to the exploitation and encroachment of the wetland," Lama said.

According to him, the best way to preserve the wetland was by including it in the conservation and management programme launched in 2010 under which the Centre provides financial and technical assistance for various conservation activities in the listed wastelands.

"Once our signature campaign gets over at the end of this month, we will approach the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), state government and the Union government with our demand," he said.

Reclamation of land and dumping of solid waste in and around a wetland are prohibited after a water body is brought under the central scheme, he said.

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