Noida: Minister Harsh Vardhan’s event at Okhla park delayed as man injured in mishap
Union minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and minister of state Dr Mahesh Sharma, who is also the MP of Gautam Budh Nagar, were to lay the foundation stone to start the redevelopment project on Wednesday.noida Updated: Mar 21, 2018 22:36 IST
The ministry of environment, forest and climate change on Wednesday announced its plans for the redevelopment and upgrading of the 4.5 square-kilometre Okhla Bird Sanctuary situated along the Yamuna bank near Kalindi Kunj barrage on the Delhi-Noida border.
Union minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and minister of state Dr Mahesh Sharma, who is also the MP of Gautam Budh Nagar, were to lay the foundation stone to start the redevelopment project on Wednesday.
The event was delayed as a man who was installing a tent at the park came in contact with a live wire and got injured. The ceremony,which was to begin at 5:30pm could not be started till 8:45pm.
The redevelopment of the sanctuary involves putting in place a state-of-the-art interpretation centre, nature club, nature trail, CCTV control centre, digital library and bird guides, along with other amenities and facilities. Officials said the facilities will be as per the plan approved by the Centre for sanctuaries.
Officials said the number of visitors is expected to increase if more facilities are provided, as the newly opened Magenta line of the Delhi Metro provides a speedy travel option to Delhi-NCR birders.
“We aim to set up some facilities such as a reception centre, watch tower and a food court near the park gates so that visitors are able to enjoy an outing with families,” Ishwar Singh, range officer, Gautam Budh Nagar forest department and the in-charge of the sanctuary, said.
Notified in 1990, the Okhla Bird Sanctuary is now one of the 466 important birding areas in India. It is home to 30 species of migratory birds that arrive here from mid-October to mid-November every year. The avian visitors include the greylag goose, barheaded goose, common teal, gadwal, Eurasian wigeon, northern shoveler, common coot, northern pintail, tufted duck and common Pochar, the forest department said.
Environmentalists, however, criticised the forest department for holding an event in the protected area as such activities disturb the wildlife.
“There was no need to organise such a big gathering at the gates of the sanctuary as it disturbs the wildlife and damage the ecosystem. The forest department should peacefully build a reception centre and an interpretation centre at the sanctuary. It should focus on planting saplings to increase the forest in and around the sanctuary rather than hold such events,” Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist, said.
The forest department defended the event. “We have organised the event at the gates of the park so as not to disturb the wildlife habitat. The minister and people will only lay a foundation stone inside the sanctuary peacefully,” Ishwar Singh said.