Does no one care for an in­ter­na­tion­ally im­por­tant bird area?

OBS is in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised as an im­por­tant bird area and is a unique habi­tat pro­vid­ing fauna con­ser­va­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties to a me­trop­o­lis like Delhi

HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Van­dana Ram­nani

t i s a par­adise f or our winged friends – the only zone af­ter Nairobi in Kenya, Africa, to at­tract over 400 species all year round and over 1 lakh mi­gra­tory birds from all over the world in win­ter. The Okhla Bird Sanc­tu­ary (OBS), 3.5 sq km of which is in Gau­tam Budh Na­gar, Ut­tar Pradesh, is an area of in­ter­na­tional im­por­tance as it hosts 30% of the 1200 to 1300 species recorded in the In­dian sub-con­ti­nent!

Now, hu­man be­ings are all set to put their needs over that of the frag­ile ecosys­tem. En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists dis­miss as “eye­wash” the UP govern­ment’s rec­om­men­da­tion to the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Forests ( MoEF) to change to 100 me­tres the eco- sen­si­tive zone limit be­tween OBS and

The Oc­to­ber, 2013, Na­tional Green Tri­bunal ( NGT) or­der men­tioned t he plea of Amit Ku­mar, a Noid­abased en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist who filed a pe­ti­tion say­ing that the de­vel­op­ment around the Okhla Bird Sanc­tu­ary (OBS) had af­fected many crit­i­cally en­dan­gered species, two of them be­ing very vul­ner­a­ble. build­ing projects in the area from the pre­vi­ous pro­posal of 1km. The in­tent seems to be to pro­tect builders and not the sanc­tu­ary. “Had there been projects at a dis­tance of 50 me­tres, the state govern­ment would prob­a­bly have set that as the limit – to prop­erly pro­tect a sanc­tu­ary, the limit should at least be 500 me­tres,” they say, adding that a smaller buf­fer “By virtue of the con­struc­tion ac­tiv­i­ties which are made in the sur­round­ing ar­eas of the sanc­tu­ary, the move­ment of birds is af­fected, which re­sults in en­vi­ron­men­tal im­bal­ance,” the ap­pli­cant had said.

The OBS is lo­cated close to ur­ban set­tle­ments and is a unique habi­tat pro­vid­ing flora and fauna con­ser­va­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties in a me­trop­o­lis like Delhi. It’s a stopover for mi­gra­tory wa­ter birds and home to sev­eral other fauna and flora, in­clud­ing 400 species of birds. This lo­ca­tion is of global im­por­tance be­ing only the sec­ond zone in the world to at­tract over 400 species of birds af­ter Nairobi, which at­tracts over 800 species.

OBS is in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised as an im­por­tant bird area ( IBA). It is l ocated at the point where the Ya­muna river en­ters the state of Ut­tar Pradesh. The area is small but it does have vary­ing habi­tats - wa­ter bod­ies, marsh­lands, grass­lands and a large num­ber and va­ri­ety of trees which at­tract birds through­out the year. The con­cen­tra­tion of birds — more than 30% of the 1200-1300 species recorded in the In­dian sub-con­ti­nent – in one small area makes the OBS even more im­por­tant. At the peak time of win­ter mi­gra­tion, the num­ber of birds could well be one lakh.

HT FILE PHOTO

The con­cen­tra­tion of birds — more than 30% of the 1200 to 1300 species recorded in the In­dian sub-con­ti­nent — in one small area makes the OBS even more im­por­tant

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