The Chandigarh administration’s decision to set up a memorial to the 110 domesticated geese culled after one of them tested positive for avian flu has come under criticism from residents and wildlife experts who see it as a sentimental and not practical approach.
While some consider it a violation of city creator Le Corbusier’s ‘Edict of Chandigarh’, others are of the opinion that there is no need for a memorial at the lake, which falls under the jurisdiction of the wildlife sanctuary.
For Aditi Ahuja, 25, a member of the Chandigarh Bird Club, a memorial is uncalled for. “The geese were the most beautiful part of the lake. Why not reintroduce them? A sculpture in the name of beauty cannot replace the picturesque beauty of nature itself,”she said.
Similarly, Col Avnish Sharma (retd), another resident of the city, termed the move an overreaction. “It would be better to have them back alive rather than waste time, effort and money to build a structure that is likely to face neglect,” he said.
Migratory birds are flu carriers
Wildlife columnist Vikram Jit Singh said the UT’s proposal was a sentimental and shallow approach. “The geese at Sukhna were domesticated ones who came in contact with migratory birds, which are silent carriers of bird flu. Hence, the administration should monitor migratory birds rather than build memorials,”he said.
Sarabjit Lehal, a wildlife photographer, called the memorial move “ridiculous”and added, “Bird flu has been around for years. Building a memorial is not the answer.”
Rajendra Khatry, another local resident, said geese should be reintroduced at the lake and allowed to live free in their natural habitat away from the company of the human beings and certainly away from the eatables. “Having the geese in your midst at a touching distance and watching them from far off is not exactly the same,” he added.
Proposal to enhance lake beauty
When contacted, UT adviser Vijay Kumar Dev was not available for comment and directed all queries to home secretary Anurag Aggarwal. On his part, Aggarwal defended the administration’s proposal saying, “It (the proposal) is simply to add a beautiful element to the already beautiful Sukhna Lake.”Asked if any advice had been sought from experts, Aggarwal said, “We won’t do anything without advice. We are yet to finalise the structure of the sculpture but yes it will be of international standards.”He refrained from calling it a memorial.