Introduced as Magh Mela special service this year, chopper joyride is attracting pilgrims but scaring away the migratory Siberian birds, which flock to Sangam every year in this season.
Ironically, the nod for chopper service, launched by a Chennai-based company, came from district magistrate Sanjay Kumar, who himself is a noted bird photographer and enthusiast.
The sensitive migratory birds travel thousands of miles from Siberia to different parts of the country to escape the harsh weather in their native land.
One of their favourite destinations is the Sangam area because of the climate here and the protection given to birds by local priests and boatmen who encourage pilgrims to feed migratory birds, promoting it as a religious ritual.
However, with the starting of service this year, birds are being disturbed and are scared whenever the chopper hovers over Sangam area.
Although, choppers do not fly too low over Sangam, disturbing loud noise of its engine is causing a stir among delicate birds.
“They panic to the sound of the chopper and fly away only to return when it leaves,” says Aditya Gupta, a bird lover, who recently visited Sangam.
Abdullah Rehman, another bird lover, says migratory birds choose a safe and quiet place for winters but change the spot if they are disturbed regularly. The chopper service started on January 12 from the police lines. The four-seat chopper makes several rounds of Sangam and other areas of the city on a fee of Rs 4000 per person.
District magistrate Sanjay Kumar said, “Chopper service is being appreciate by pilgrims as well as citizens and there are no reports of it causing any disturbance to migratory birds. The chopper flies too high and it takes only seconds to cross the Sangam area.”