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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Okhla Bird Sanctuary’s final budget to get Centre’s approval this week

The budget proposal for Okhla Bird Sanctuary had been on hold for over a year now. Forest officials reported they have received in-principle approval for the entire budget that will be shared by the MoEFCC and the Noida Authority.

noida Updated: Mar 04, 2019 03:52 IST
Snehil Sinha
Snehil Sinha
Noida
The Rs 9.55 crore budget proposal made by forest department to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) for upgrade and maintenance of Okhla Bird Sanctuary will get the final nod this week.
The Rs 9.55 crore budget proposal made by forest department to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) for upgrade and maintenance of Okhla Bird Sanctuary will get the final nod this week.(HT Photo)
         

The Rs 9.55 crore budget proposal made by forest department to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) for upgrade and maintenance of Okhla Bird Sanctuary will get the final nod this week.

The budget proposal for Okhla Bird Sanctuary had been on hold for over a year now. Forest officials reported they have received in-principle approval for the entire budget that will be shared by the MoEFCC and the Noida Authority. A meeting will be held with the ministry and the budget proposal will be presented for the final green signal.

The sanctuary had not received any funds in the last several years. On realising the need for maintenance, the forest department had submitted an ambitious plan early last year to revive the sanctuary, at a cost of Rs 99 crore with the hopes of turning it into a bio-tourism hotspot. While the proposal was approved by the state government as well as MoEFCC, enough funds were reportedly not available with any of the agencies

After much negotiations over the past year, the budget was revised several times. It was first reduced to about Rs 50 crore and then to about Rs14 crore. Finally, a budget of ₹9.5 crore is being approved for the maintenance of the sanctuary.

The funds will be used for habitat improvement in the sanctuary with proposed better cleaning facilities for the water and the sanctuary area. A cafeteria, restrooms would be constructed and an entry gate and some seating furniture would be installed as well. Golf carts will be procured to ferry tourists and the plantations will be improved further.

“Meanwhile, we have tried to do whatever we could with our internal budget which is simply inadequate. We did some water cleaning, repair and sanitation work before the winter migratory birds started arriving so that their habitat would not be disturbed. With the migratory birds gradually leaving, we will now have time for maintenance before the next season begins,” Srivastava said.

He added that between September and October, water hyacinths were cleared and the sanctuary premises were also cleaned. A bamboo bridge was mended and one of the watchtowers was also repaired along with the installation of more benches and dustbins.

First Published: Mar 04, 2019 03:52 IST