Keshopur Chhamb (Gurdaspur)
Over 13 thousand migratory birds have arrived at the Keshopur Chhamb (wetland), 5 km from Gurdaspur this season.
These winged guests have come from Siberia, Russia, Middle East countries, China and Mansarovar Lake (India).
These migratory birds include Northern Showlers, Northern Pintail, Godwall, Common Coots, Rody Shell Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Moor Hens, Purpple Moor Hens, Mallards, Common Cranes and Sars Cranes.
In the beginning of the winter season every year, these birds leave their original habitats for Keshopur Chhamb where they stay till March 15. Kahnuwan Chhamb is spread over 850 acres of wetland, belonging to five villages, namely Keshopur, Maghar Mudhian, Mattam, Miani and Dala
District wildlife and forest officer Rajesh Mahajan told Hindustan Times on Monday that the Keshopur Chhamb was being developed into a bird sanctuary and as a tourist destination for the bird watchers at a cost of Rs 8.32 crore.
Giving the detail of the works being undertaken at Keshopur Chhamb, Mahajan said the project started in March 2013 and was likely to be completed by March 2016.
He said water hyacinth had been removed from 50 hectares of wetland. He said 25,000 square metre long water strip had been desilted for the birds to play in and 3000 new trees had been planted in the Chhamb for the birds to take shelter in them and return to the trees when they get tired of staying in the water.
Mahajan said a “katcha” platform (40-metre long and 20-metre wide and 2-metre high) had been built as an island in the Chhamb for the convenience of birds to use land for their stay after coming out of the water.
The district wild life and forest officer remarked that to keep the pools of water clean, the earth had been piled up on all the five sides of the 20,800 square metre area in the Chhamb to prevent the dirty soil from entering the Chhamb during the rainy season.
He said due to desilting of the water pools in the Chhamb, the area under water had also increased and it was not less than three feet deep anywhere in the Chhamb.
Mahajan said an information centre was being raised on three acres of land in the Chhamb for the convenience of the possible tourists where they could get assistance of trained guides on different birds, have binoculars to have a close look at the birds, park their vehicles, besides taking refreshment at the restaurant there.
Mahajan added that almost 40 percent of the developmental works at the Keshopur Chhamb had already been completed.
He said this season three pairs of Sars Cranes, which are rare in the region, had been seen at the Keshopur Chhamb. He said the birds namely Common Cranes, which were also rare, were found only at Keshopur Chhamb in Punjab.