iconimg Friday, September 04, 2015

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 04, 2013
Their chirps are getting fainter. Even 11 months after the state government declared the endangered sparrow Delhi's first state bird, it has failed to spend any money on its conservation. 

The government in response to an RTI application admitted that no study has been conducted to identify areas where sparrows live, a prerequisite for any conservation measure to succeed.

"There is no separate fund for sparrow conservation," admitted a forest department official. "The environment department has consolidated funds for various purposes and we're entitled to seek monetary assistance for sparrows from there."

RTI applicant and environmentalist Mahendra Pandey said, "Sparrow Day advertisements are more to show the face of chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who is also environment minister."

Delhi observed the first Sparrow Day on March 20 in 2010, when Dikshit resolved to bring the birds back to the city. In August 2012, she declared the sparrow Delhi's first state bird.

Conservationists say a dearth of nesting sites and food and the increase in cell phone towers and vehicle pollution threaten the birds. 

But they also say the bird can get a helping hand from citizens. Planting shrubs around your house and saving parks are proactive measures. You can also register on www.cbmi.in and monitor sparrows around your homes, offices and schools. Monitoring helps create a countrywide distribution map.