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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

Once home to hundreds of migratory birds, Kanjli wetland faces neglect

Parampreet Singh Narula, Hindustan Times  Kapurthala, August 04, 2014
First Published: 21:49 IST(4/8/2014) | Last Updated: 21:51 IST(4/8/2014)

Kanjli wetland, which was constructed to provide irrigation to the hinterland in the district and once home to several species of migratory birds, is presently in a bad condition, courtesy sheer apathy on part of the government.

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In 2002, the Ramsar Convention, an international body for the conservation and utilisation of wetlands, recognised this manmade wetland which is also a popular picnic spot.

The spot is not only favourite among locals but it also attracts people from nearby areas.

Black-crowned night heron, common moorhen, pond heron, purple swanphen, spotted owlet and white-breasted kingfisher were the commonly found birds at the wetland.

Besides, common coot, red-crested pochard, rudy shelduck, northern pintail, black-headed gull and northern shoveller were also seen in the lake during winters.  

Till 2004, it was a well-maintained picnic spot with a boating point and park where people came for evening walk while children came here for amusement.

The rivulet is full of algae, hyacinth and dirt which disturb the flow of water in the wetland. No caretaker has been deputed for the maintenance of the wetland.

Environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal has launched several campaigns since 2004 to clean hyacinth weed from the rivulet but due to lack of concern by the authorities, these campaigns failed to bring the desired result.

The wetland spread over 490 hectares of land has now turned into a shelter for druggists. It was also famous for the Baisakhi fair once, but it has now been years since the last fair was organised.

Reports said crores had been spent on the wetland but still the authorities failed to maintain the picnic spot.

The government has spent lot of funds to construct a hotel near the Kanjli lake but it is still lying in a dilapidated condition.

The flyover, constructed long ago and broken in 2008, was constructed after three years recently.

Additional deputy commissioner (general) Kuldeep Singh Chandi said the project to build the Kanjli picnic spot is in their list and they have sent a detailed report to the government for this.

"With the help of Sant Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal, we have started cleaning the Choti Bein, a tributary of Kali Bein. We will renovate the picnic spot as well," he said.

Kanjli wetland, Hari-Ke-Pattan in Amritsar and Satluj waterbody wetland in Ropar are three major recognised wetlands in Punjab.

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