As shut PSU’s staff vacates township, death knell sounds for its other residents – peacocks | jaipur | Hindustan Times
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As shut PSU’s staff vacates township, death knell sounds for its other residents – peacocks

The Instrumentation Limited’s township in Kota resembles a ghost town. Roads that have turned into gravel and dust, decaying buildings, and overgrown vegetation --- all pointers to the fact that the area has been abandoned by the employees of the now closed public sector unit

jaipur Updated: Jun 28, 2017 20:29 IST
Aabshar H Quazi
Peacocks are the only residents in the abandoned township of the Instrumentation Limited in Kota.
Peacocks are the only residents in the abandoned township of the Instrumentation Limited in Kota.(PTI)

The Instrumentation Limited’s township in Kota resembles a ghost town. Roads that have turned into gravel and dust, decaying buildings, and overgrown vegetation --- all pointers to the fact that the area has been abandoned by the employees of the now closed public sector unit (PSU).

Now, silence prevails in the nearly 124-acres township that used to remain abuzz with human activity till just a month-and-a-half ago.

The eerie silence is often broken by piercing screams that carry far and wide —Screams of peacocks, more than 100 of them, who had made the township their home. Even as the employees of the Instrumentation Limited --- a proposal to shut the unit was approved by the Centre in November 2016 and its staff offered a voluntary retirement package --- left the township, the peacocks remained.

Usually, it is the wildlife that faces threat from human habitation, but in an ironic turn of events, it is the lack of humans that has spelt disaster for the peacocks here.

A former employee of the now-shut PSU, Nand Singh, talks fondly about the peacocks. While the unit was established in 1964, the birds arrived in the township only a few years later. Over next four decades, the peacock population thrived reaching over 100 individual birds, Nand Singh said.

“This was mostly due to the efforts of the residents here. The authorities had even declared the township campus as Peacock Conservation area where families used to feed birds,” he said.

Now that the last of the 270 remaining families have left the township, the birds are facing scarcity of food. There have been cases of stray dogs attacking the peacocks too.

Some social organisations and nature activists apart from the local Grain Merchants Association have come to the rescue of the peacocks, making interim arrangement of food and water. They, however, are now demanding to declare the green belt of the township as bird reserve for ensuring proper supply of food and security to the peacocks.

“For the past few days, we have been providing foodgrains to the peacocks. But, the movement of outsiders will be restricted in the township in the coming days. We want district administration to make permanent arrangement for conservation of peacocks by providing them feed and security from stray dogs,” said Manoj Jain ‘Adinath’ of the Human Helpline, an NGO.

Dr Sudhir Gupta of Green Core, an outfit of nature enthusiasts, has already written to chief minister Vasundhara Raje urging her to declare the green belt of the township as a bird reserve. “If it is done, then the peacocks can live in secure environment with sufficient food and water availability,” he added.

Deputy Conservator of forest, territorial area, Kota, Lalit Singh Ranawat told the Hindustan Times that he had visited the township and made arrangements for feed for the birds. He, however, said that township has just over 50 peacocks.

Ranawat said that district administration has been informed about the stray dogs attacking the national bird. He said the administration with the help of Kota municipal corporation authorities can impound the strays.

Additional district magistrate (administration), Kota, Sunita Daga said they would soon send a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) to the township to get the area where peacocks live fenced off.