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Noida plans revamp of Okhla bird sanctuary

The forest department has submitted a concept plan on Okhla bird sanctuary’s beautification to the Noida authority

noida Updated: Feb 17, 2017 22:24 IST
Vinod Rajput
Vinod Rajput
Hindustan Times
Okhla bird sanctuary,Noida authority,wildlife conservation
The district forest department has submitted a concept plan on the sanctuary’s beautification to the Noida authority.(Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)

The Noida authority and the Gautam Budh Nagar district forest department have decided to beautify and revamp the 4.5-square-km Okhla bird sanctuary situated along Yamuna Bank near Kalindi Kunj Barrage on Delhi-Noida border.

Following orders from the Uttar Pradesh principal secretary, industries, Rama Raman, who is also the Noida authority chairman, officials have prepared a proposal to revamp the bird sanctuary.

The forest department has submitted the concept plan on beautification to the Noida authority. The authority will now seek final approval from the UP government before implementing the project, which involves, among other things, putting in place a proper reception, ticket counter and a restaurant at the front of the sanctuary.

“A 700-metre-long wooden bridge, which will connect to the newly constructed parking facility near the sanctuary in Sector 95, is proposed. Visitors can park their vehicles there and travel to the sanctuary in eco-friendly golf carts,” said Deepak Agarwal, chief executive officer, Noida authority.

The existing gate near Kalindi Kunj barrage will be shut down and entry will be provided from inside the Sector 95 parking facility, according to officials.

“We will also install new watch towers provide a better view to the visitors without disturbing the birds. However, the plan will be finalised by the top officials in Lucknow,” said HV Girish, divisional forest officer (DFO), Gautam Budh Nagar.

Revamping the sanctuary also 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 approved by the government of India for sanctuaries.

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 visit from mid-October to mid-November every year.

In a 2010 order, the Supreme Court had directed the Noida authority to develop a green buffer at the north and north-eastern side of the sanctuary to reduce direct disturbance to the wildlife. However, nothing has been done so far.

“As per the SC order in 2010, the Noida authority will provide around Rs40 crore for conservation and protection of Okhla bird sanctuary. The fund will be spent in a phased manner as per the law,” said the DFO.

The authority said it does not have any problem in funding the conservation project.

“Funding is not an issue, but the forest department will have to seek requisite approvals to implement conservation plans in this protected habitat,” said Agarwal.

First Published: Feb 17, 2017 22:24 IST