SAMBALPUR: In a first for the State, Govindpur in Ambabhona block of Bargarh district has declared itself a ‘Birds Village’ so as to provide a safer haven to winged visitors during their breeding as well as migration periods.Under supervision and guidance of Hirakud wildlife division, the villagers have joined hands to keep Govidnpur pollution-free for the birds and protect them from predators as well as prying eyes.
Work on the village started on Friday. Two more villages - Tamdei and Ramkhol - have now pledged to join hands for conservation of birds, and will also be developed into ‘Birds Villages’ in the next phase. Govindpur comes under Lakhanpur wildlife range.Every year, over 2 lakh birds of around 100 different species migrate to the reservoir, spread over an area of 746 sq km, in October for breeding and stay put for six months before flying back.
During the period, tourists from Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand along with nearby districts of Jharsuguda, Bolangir, Sonepur as well as locals of Sambalpur and Bargarh visit the three villages located near Hirakud reservoir, the largest artificial lake of Odisha, for bird watching along with picnic and boating. Photographers too throng the area for clicking pictures of temples submerged in Hirakud and wildlife of Debrigarh.
While the number of birds flocking Hirakud every year has been increasing remarkably, the declaration of ‘Birds Village’ is aimed at protection and conservation of the population of migratory birds as well as increase the footfall of tourists to the villages during the period.
DFO, Wildlife Anshu Pragyan Das said, the involvement of villagers in the initiative will create a sense of ownership among them to protect birds. “The local community will be given the responsibility of keeping the habitat clean and suitable for the flying guests besides making visitors aware of the migratory birds coming here,” she said.
Under the initiative, the division has already cleared ‘Ipomoea carnea’ over 100 km shoreline of Hirakud and Debrigarh Sanctuary. Removal of weed will facilitate wildlife movement, nesting of birds and create more meadows and grasslands.This apart, all houses in these villages will have wall paintings of colourful birds like Redcrested Pochard, Moorhen, Skimmer and many others.
Since the declaration of Hirakud Lake as Ramsar Site in 2022 will draw travellers, tourists, photographers, trekkers to the area, to keep the landscape clean, the wildlife division will install adequate number of dustbins too. Besides, signages from Chhattisgarh and in neighbouring districts will be installed for directions and promotions.
Wall paintings, signboards and dustbin work have already started in Govindpur. The division is also printing books and printed material on birds and Hirakud lake for villagers which will be distributed in the next six months.