Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

Environmen­talists, bird lovers against ‘junky tourism’ in U’khand’s Sattal

- Neeraj Santoshi

DEHRADUN: Environmen­talists, bird lovers and locals are opposing the proposed redevelopm­ent of Sattal, a birder’s paradise, in Nainital district, stressing that more concretisa­tion and infrastruc­ture addition will disturb the birds frequentin­g the area and negatively impact its natural ecology.

Bird lovers from across India frequent Sattal for bird watching and clicking photograph­s of the Himalayan avian diversity. Under the proposed redevelopm­ent of Sattal, authoritie­s (Nainital Lake Developmen­t Authority and forest department) plan to build a children’s park, food plaza, interpreta­tion centre, library, ticketing office, park, pathways and so on

Neerdiv Bankoti, a local, said they are opposing the redevelopm­ent as Sattal is perhaps the last lake area in the district, also called the “Lake district of India”, which is still in pristine and unspoiled, and doesn’t have many concrete structures.

“These additions will lead to crowding and stop the birds from coming here. So, in a way, if we go ahead with the redevelopm­ent of the lake area, it will defeat the very purpose for which Sattal is famous,” he said.

Aagnay Budhraja, who hails from Delhi and has been living in Sattal for four years, said he started an online petition on change.org against the proposed move. He said the area is home to over 500 bird and 525 butterfly species.

“Over 17,000 people have already signed the petition. When we came to know about these proposed works, we wrote to the divisional forest officer of Nainital and other authoritie­s that instead of adding more structures in the area, the forests around the lake should be declared a conservati­on reserve,” he said.

Budhraja said a public interest litigation will be filed in the Uttarakhan­d high court next

 ??  ?? An illustrati­on of the proposed constructi­on in Sattal.
An illustrati­on of the proposed constructi­on in Sattal.

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