Once known as a favourite winter stopover for various kind of migratory birds from across the globe, Kanjli Wetland has now been evaded by the winged visitors owing to hyacinth accumulation and dirty water.
Though migratory birds have started flocking to Hari-ke-Pattan Wetland in Amritsar and Sutlej Water Body Wetland in Ropar, no bird has arrived at Kanjli.
Millions of birds, including Black-crowned night heron, common moorhen, pond heron, purple swanphen, spotted owlet and white-breasted kingfisher, common coot, red-crested pochard, rudy shelduck, northern pintail, black-headed gull and northern shoveller, had been seen at the lake and filling the sky each year during winter.
Spread over 100 hectares, the wetland once used to be a famous tourist destination, where children used to come for amusement and picnic, and elderly for a walk, but now it has become a safe haven for drug addicts.
A man-made wetland, Kanjli had once been recognised internationally by the Ramsar Convention in 2002.
As per information, crores of rupees have been spent over the restoration of the wetland, but the authorities failed to maintain it. Also, the government
In addition, the government had spent plenty of money for the construction of a hotel near the lake, which is also lying in dilapidated condition.
Environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal had also launched several campaigns to clean hyacinth weeds from the rivulet, but failed to bring the desired result due to lack of concern by the authorities.
“We cleaned it a few years back, but due to lack of interest by the authorities it again filled with filth,” said Baba Seechewal.
He said various kind of migratory birds used to visit the lake during winter; however, as the lake got filled with hyacinth and traffic on nearby roads increased, birds started avoiding Kanjli Wetland.
Ashutosh Kumar, executive engineer, drainage department, said they had cleaned hyacinth in 2013, but its growth was so rapid that the rivulet again filled with hyacinth in a a few months of cleanliness.
“We have planned to clean the rivulet the next year,” he said. Davinder Singh, Kapurthala range officer, said that they had been waiting for birds as the winter season had not properly begun yet.