13,000 tonne of debris removed from Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
PUNE One of the most popular biodiversity parks in Pune, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, is facing a sharp decline in bird species it is home to owing to the dumping of debris. So much so that nearly 9,600 tonne of debris has been removed from the sanctuary since the last meeting held with minister Aaditya Thackeray on January 12 to resolve the issue.
The 22-acre Dr Salim Ali Biodiversity Park in the city, named after the ‘Birdman of India’, lies along the Mula-Mutha river and is a paradise both for bird watchers and nature lovers as it attracts 130 different species of birds.
During the meeting, it was decided to lift the debris by the end of this month and initiate police patrolling of the area to restrict illegal activities and entry into the sanctuary. It was also decided to appoint security personnel to guard the area, install CCTV cameras for surveillance, and put up fencing around the green area.
The work of removing the debris started on January 18 and as per information provided by the PMC, a total 9,600 tonne of debris was removed in four days. The debris mainly comprised construction and demolition waste, and plastic and fevicol waste which will be lifted soon.
Dr Siddhartha Dhende , deputy mayor of Pune, said, “The work is carried out by the road and garden department of the PMC under the nagar road ward office.”
Meghna Baphna, a volunteer with the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary action committee, said, “The work of lifting the debris is underway but the place has not yet been fenced and neither is there CCTV surveillance. They have not even appointed any security personnel to guard the place, which should be done on a priority basis.”
However, MLA Sunil Tingre claimed, “Police patrolling to restrict illegal activities and entry has already started.”
While Dr Dhende said, “The place is not guarded by security personnel as it is not enlisted as a sanctuary under the state or central government. Once the place is under the PMC jurisdiction, the work of fencing and CCTV surveillance will be carried out on priority.”
Tingre added, “The work is expected to be completed by the end of this month as promised. The place is still not owned by the corporation for which a case has been filed in court.”
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