SIRPUR BIRD sanctuary had a distinguished visitor on Wednesday. City bird watchers have already christened it so in the face government apathy. Although, Sunita Narain arrived late in the migratory season when the party was already over and visiting birds had returned home.
A few moorhens, coots and wigeons were all there to welcome her besides local species of newsmen and amateur bird-watchers. It has become a routine for the pressure group, The Nature Volunteers, to invite environmentalists and ornithologists for a view on their visits to this City.
Municipal authorities clean up the site temporarily to ease off the pressure and nothing concrete ever happens, only more reinforced concrete structures add up.
Sunita had a favourable view of the 260-hectare territory. Even praised the way it has stayed in such shape. But that is because Indore had exceptionally good rainfall this year. With the catchment area of the tank going under encroachment, this scene would not be a permanent one.
Municipal Commissioner Vinod Sharma was in agreement that gathering of water is the main problem. Precisely the same problem has ruined Keoladeo (Bharatpur), one of the finest marshland sanctuaries of India.
Sunita stressed on the need to develop an independent source for the inflow of water, and to protect it from wastes created by human activities, particularly the sewage.
She was greatly pained to note the state of Indore’s rivers. Her organisation, the Centre for Science and Environment, has almost completed a study on Indore’s water and sewage system, which might be released in Indore some time in the near future. That would help consolidate the position of water reservoirs of Indore and that of Sirpur tank too.
A tank well preserved would certainly be a temptation for the migratory birds to have it on their annual tour plans. Sunita planted a sapling on its bund, but also hinted that she would have appreciated a neem or jamun instead of a
merely ornamental one.