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Water scarcity at Bharatpur bird sanctuary

india Updated: Mar 20, 2008 12:14 IST

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The world-famous Bharatpur bird Sanctuary in Rajasthan is facing acute water scarcity that has seen decline in arrival of migratory birds, Minister of State for Environment and Forests S Regupathy informed the Rajya Sabha.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, he said only 48 species of migratory birds visited the Bird Sanctuary in 2006-07.

A Rs 100 crore proposal of the Rajasthan government to restore the wetland character for the Sanctuary is under consideration of the Planning Commission, he said.

"To maintain the wetland character of Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, 550 million cubic feet of water is required annually," he said.

According to the Rajasthan government, the wetland character of the Park can be maintained by harnessing about 200 million cubic feet of water from Chiksana canal and Ajan dam and about 350 million cubic feet of water through the proposed Govardhan drain project.

In addition, about 310 million cubic feet of water per year for initial four years and about 62.5 million cubic feet of water per year after four years would also be made available to the Park from the Dholpur-Bharatpur Chambal drinking water project, he said.

"All efforts to maintain the world heritage status of Keoladeo National Park, Bharatput have been made, both by the the Government of India and the state government," he said while ruling out the possibility of UNESCO snatching away the world heritage status from the Santuary due to water scarcity.