IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


16th August, 2023 Geography

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A legal and environmental issue involving Tampara Lake in the state of Odisha


  • The National Green Tribunal, Eastern Zone, has issued a directive to the Odisha government concerning construction activities around Tampara Lake, a designated Ramasar site and a significant freshwater lake in the state.
  • The order was issued in response to a petition filed by the Wildlife Society of Orissa (WSO), an environmental group, which alleged that the ongoing construction work at Tampara Lake was illegal.

Illegal Construction and Lack of Permissions

  • The WSO's petition highlighted large-scale permanent construction activities within the waterbody and its zone of influence without obtaining necessary permissions.
  • Allegations included non-implementation of wetland rules and the dysfunctional state of the grievance committee and State wetland authority.

Ecological Importance of Tampara Lake

  • Tampara Lake is spread across 337.86 hectares, with dimensions of 5.8 km in length and 670 meters in width, situated in Ganjam district.
  • The lake is home to diverse wildlife, including at least 60 species of birds, 46 species of fishes, over 48 species of phytoplankton, and more than seven species of terrestrial plants and macrophytes.
  • The wetland is a habitat for vulnerable species such as Cyprinus carpio, common pochard (Aythya ferina), and river tern (Sterna aurantia).
  • Tampara Lake was included in the Wetland Atlas prepared by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in 2010.

Violation of Wetland Conservation Rules

  • The WSO's counsel emphasized that Ramsar sites are protected under Wetland Conservation Rules 2017, and the construction violates these rules.
  • The state government's construction activities, including concrete structures, restaurants, hotels, resorts, and cottages, encroach upon the lake and its 50-meter fringe area.

Proposed Ecotourism Activities and Additional Infrastructure

  • Plans for water sport activities like surfing, kayaking, and scuba diving are being developed to establish Tampara Lake as an ecotourism hub.
  • The Berhampur Development Authority (BeDA) had finalized additional infrastructure projects for the tourist destination, estimated at ₹8 crore.

NGT's Decision and Committee Formation

  • The National Green Tribunal appointed a committee consisting of senior scientists from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), the Central Pollution Control Board, District Collector of Ganjam or nominee, and the Secretary of State Wetland Authority, Odisha, or nominee.
  • The committee is tasked with preparing a report within four weeks regarding the construction and its impact on the lake's ecosystem.


Q) Consider the following statements about Tampara Lake:

1. The lake has been designated as a Ramsar site due to its ecological significance.

2. The Wildlife Society of Orissa (WSO) has raised concerns about illegal construction activities around the lake.

Select the correct statements using the codes below:

(a)    1 only

(b)    2 only

(c)     Both 1 and 2

(d)    Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C