Today in New Delhi, India
Oct 16, 2018-Tuesday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: Road work may leave avian abode with 167 fewer trees

Ramesh Salunkhe, PMC tree inspector of Yerawada and Kalyaninagar, said, “An alternative road has been proposed to ease the traffic congestion on the Ahmednagar road from Shivane to Kharadi. This will require transplantation of 167 trees from the Wadi stud farm, which is on the banks of the Mula-Mutha river and fall under the Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary.”

pune Updated: Sep 01, 2018 17:31 IST
Parth Welankar
Parth Welankar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Dr Salim Ali,Bird Sanctuary,Road work
Ornithologist Dharmaraj Patil said that tree cutting and road construction under the proposed PMC plan will have an adverse impact on the wildlife of the Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary.(HT FILE PHOTO)

Infrastructure development in the city has taken a toll on the green belts of the city. Citing the increasing population of vehicles leading to heavy traffic congestion on Ahmednagar road during peak hours, the Pune Municipal Corporations (PMC) has planned to construct an alternate road from Shivane to Kharadi, which involves transplantation of 167 trees from the Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary.

Ramesh Salunkhe, PMC tree inspector of Yerawada and Kalyaninagar, said, “An alternative road has been proposed to ease the traffic congestion on the Ahmednagar road from Shivane to Kharadi. This will require transplantation of 167 trees from the Wadi stud farm, which is on the banks of the Mula-Mutha river and fall under the Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary.”

“All the trees will be transplanted. In fact, we have asked the PMC road department to plant more trees on the site where these 167 trees will be transplanted,” he said.

However, the PMC’s decision has irked the residents and non-governmental organisations (NGO) who claim that the construction of road, which includes transplantation of 167 trees from the bird park, will lead to destruction of nature and its habitat in the bird park.

Dharmaraj Patil, an ornithologist, said, “The road construction is bound to have serious impact on the habitat of the bird park. There are many migratory birds that can be seen in Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary. Tree cutting and road construction will have an adverse impact on the wildlife of the park.”

“We visited the site proposed for the road construction with the PMC officials on Friday. After our visit, the civic officials have requested us to submit our recommendations in a letter and have assured us of taking cognisance of it,” he said, adding that considering the past experiences, it is difficult to have complete faith on the assurances given by the civic officials.

Is it the end of the 20-year-old park?

The natural bird sanctuary on the Mula-Mutha river bank that was dedicated to the memory of the great ornithologist Dr Salim Ali nearly two decades ago is as good as dead now due to neglect by authorities.

Once popular among birdwatchers within and outside Pune as the ‘Yerawada Birding Point,’ the spot, in its heydays, used to feature at least 30 different species of birds. However, due to construction activities, massive cutting down of trees along with garbage dumping and polluted river water, it is no longer frequented in large numbers by birds or bird watchers.

While the authorities are yet to act against the illegal razing of 500 trees at the bird park by the Panchshil Group, the civic body has yet again announced the tree transplantation of 167 trees from the Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary for a proposed road widening work. Considering the increasing traffic congestion on Ahmednagar road during peak hours, the Pune Municipal Corporations (PMC) has decided to construct an alternate road from Shivane to Kharadi, which involves transplantation of 167 trees from the Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary.

Purnima Kalpataru, a member of the NGO Friends of Dr Salim Ali Biodiversity Park, said, “The recent developments have created a sense of fear that the park would soon be depleted. With all the proposed work, the park is going to shrink further. It is a very unfortunate situation which has been consistently trivialised by the civic authorities.”

We are not against development. However, it must go hand in hand with the protection of nature, said Kalpataru.

According to Dharmaraj Patil, an ornithologist, transplantation of trees is not a very good option as the success rate is very low.

First Published: Sep 01, 2018 17:31 IST