Pune district collector assures to work for reviving Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary | pune news | Hindustan Times
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Pune district collector assures to work for reviving Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary

Collector of Pune district Saurabh Rao took note of HT’s coverage of the nearly defunct bird sanctuary on the banks of the Mula-Mutha river and has committed to prompt and serious action to saving the area.

pune Updated: Mar 03, 2018 15:15 IST
Parth Welankar
Due to massive garbage dumping and polluted river water, the birds have flown away; and so have the bird watchers. 
Due to massive garbage dumping and polluted river water, the birds have flown away; and so have the bird watchers. (HT PHOTO)

The Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Yerawada in Pune wil be “preserved and protected” the collector of Pune district Saurabh Rao has promised.

Rao took note of HT’s coverage of the nearly defunct bird sanctuary on the banks of the Mula-Mutha river and has committed to prompt and serious action to saving the area.

Rao said,“It is indeed our responsibility to preserve and protect one of the most important and beautiful green belts of Pune and we will work in this direction with immediate effect.”

The natural bird sanctuary that was dedicated to the memory of the great ornithologist Dr Salim Ali nearly two decades ago and which was once popular among birdwatchers as the ‘Yerawada birding point,’ used to feature in its heyday at least 30 different species of birds including the ruddy shelduck, red wattled lapwings and black headed ibis.

However, due to massive garbage dumping and polluted river water, the birds have flown away; and so have the bird watchers.

Rao said, “I will immediately write a letter regarding this to the Pune municipal corporation (PMC), forest department and the irrigation department.”

Citing legal entanglements as one of the reasons for not being able to act on the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary so far, he said, “There are some legal disputes which need to be addressed immediately. However, until then it is the responsibility of each and every concerned department to preserve the sanctuary.”

Reacting to the collector’s response, Dharmaraj Patil, an ornithologist, said, “It is a positive sign that the collector of Pune has shown a willingness to work towards protecting the sanctuary. We hope that the concerned authorities don’t indulge in passing the responsibility on to other departments, as earlier.”

PMC’s garden department, Ashok Ghorpade had earlier said that the sanctuary neither belongs to, nor is it being managed by the PMC. “The land is owned by the forest and revenue department,” Ghorpade said.

Reacting to the PMC's claims, Vivek Khandekar, chief conservator, forest department, Pune said, “The sanctuary does not fall under the official jurisdiction of the forest department. Therefore, even if we wish to, we are not legally entitled to do any kind of development on that property. In the past we have attempted to make some developments in terms of beautification of the sanctuary. However, no concerned authorities from the other department were forthcoming on this issue.”

“If a follow up on the issue is to be taken by the collector, we would certainly pursue the case in a way that would bring the sanctuary under forest department’s jurisdiction,” he added.

Rao, however, said, “Earlier as well we had written to the forest department, PMC and Irrigation department who are all party to the site.However, I assure you that this time we will take strong follow up immediately to preserve the sanctuary.”