Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today asked the Odisha government to support UNESCO’s plan of developing Chilika lake as World Heritage site. “UNESCO in association with ONGC is planning to support the development of Chilika as World Heritage site and enhance the value of the lake to become a brand of conservation linked sustainable development,” the Union Petroleum Minister said in a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Regarding initiatives to preserve the ecosystem around Chilika, the largest coastal lagoon in India, Pradhan said he had discussed the issue with Shigeru Aoyagi, Director and UNESCO Chief Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka.ONGC and UNESCO are in a process of taking short and long-term measures to conserve Chilika lake, protect animals and birds, and improve the livelihood of fishing community, Pradhan said in the letter.
The measures also include income generation and welfare activities in the lake area.UNESCO has also proposed to set up a world class conservation centre with climate change observatory and state-of-art data and monitoring facilities, the minister said.He said that these plans require the mentorship and guidance of Odisha Government and Ministries of Environment and Forests and Culture. “I am writing to you for soliciting your support in taking up various development works in the area,” Pradhan said.