ew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the central government and concerned states to provide details of steps taken by them to protect 36 “priority wetlands".

A bench comprising chief justice R.M. Lodha, and justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton F. Nariman issued the notices and said the responses should be filed within four weeks.

By way of an application, the petitioner M. K. Balakrishnan had asked for a court direction to “demarcate priority areas and wetlands, which will be first addressed as most threatened".

The 36 identified wetlands, a list of which is given below, according to the petition, “require immediate attention". The application also seeks constitution of a fresh committee, replacing a high-powered committee set up in 2009 and a bar on construction “in and around known wetland areas".

The court was hearing Balakrishnan’s public interest litigation (PIL) on conservation of wetlands, a case that has been going on since 2001. At present, the government identifies 26 sites as Ramsar sites, which are protected by the 1982 Ramsar convention on wetlands.

The court has also asked the Centre to intimate it regarding an authority (the central wetlands regulatory authority) to be formed under the 2010 wetland conservation rules.

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