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Winged visitors keep away from sullied Tiruppur lake

According to TN Science Forum State member A Eswaran, "Being the largest pond in Tiruppur, Nanjarayan attracted a huge number of birds for several decades."

Published: 22nd April 2022 07:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd April 2022 07:57 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

TIRUPPUR: Nanjarayan pond is one of the largest in the district, spread across S Periyandipalayam, Koolipalayam and Mannarai villages. Spanning 440 acres, it has catchment area of 280 acres. With a perfect ecosystem for birds, it used to have more than 25,000 migratory birds visiting every year. But, the number of birds has reduced to 2,000 birds this year.

Speaking to TNIE, K Nattrayan (70), a resident of the area, said, "I used to see a lot of birds at the waterbody in the early 1990s. Even in the 2010s, I had noticed a lot of migratory birds. We had foreigners visiting the pond to photograph the birds. But, the number has decreased now."

Nature Society of Tiruppur (NST) president K Ravindran said, "In 2015-16, there were more than 20,000 migratory birds at the pond. Even a sample study used to result in great numbers. We used to spot Northern shoveler, Garganey, Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Bar-headed goose, Little Stints and all varieties of Sandpipers. Among them, Northern shovelers used to be in large groups. While more than 3,000 of those were seen, other birds were in the range of 1,500 to 2,000. During the season, I used to take photos of at least 30-40 species. However, this year, I have seen only around 1,500 birds at the pond. Among them, 200 were Northern shoveler."

According to Tamil Nadu Science Forum State member A Eswaran, "Being the largest pond in Tiruppur, Nanjarayan attracted a huge number of birds for several decades. The pond is situated at the tail end of the Nallar river and it underwent a lot of changes in the 20th century. It was filled with effluent from various dyeing units in the 2000s. The local authorities removed them after a massive campaign. The water was pumped out of the pond and fresh water from the river filled the pond again. It has brought back a few birds, but we are yet to see its past glory.

Speaking to TNIE, an official from Tiruppur district administration said, "The pond falls under the control of the PWD of Uthukuli in Perundurai assembly constituency of Erode. Villagers said the pond should be cleaned using reverse osmosis plants and the water be used for irrigation. A proposal to turn it into a tourist attraction was accepted by the former  minister for environment 'Thoppu' K Venkatachalam in 2015-16. But some social activists claimed that the tourism plan will fail. Though the lake was desilted for `4 crore, the project didn't go further. But the desilting resulted in removal of mudflats, large thorny bushes, and shallow-water surfaces. These are vital for the survival of migratory birds. These conditions are favourable to birds for rooting, feeding, nesting, etc. Whatever left of the old ecosystem is still attracting birds to the waterbody. But the number of birds coming here is nowhere near what it was before."



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