Calcutta, Oct. 28: Efforts are on to improve upon nature as Narendrapur Wildlife Sanctuary, better known as Kayaler Bagan, gets decked up to receive on Sunday the chief minister, who will rename it Chintamoni Kar Abhayaranya.
The dirt road leading to the sanctuary has become pucca almost overnight. A bamboo fencing is being put in place near the gateway.
A gateway is being made with cement made to resemble the trunk and bare branches of a tree. A similar contraption is being erected to hold the plaque that the chief minister will unveil. The heavy forest und- ergrowth has been cleared to lay paths of red surki (ground brick), which meander in place of beaten tracks. The inva- sion of plastic has been defeated and discarded bottles have disappeared. To complete the idyllic scene, bases of trees in front of the caretaker’s hut have been lined with “bamboo” stakes made of cement. Lights here “grow” on branches.
The only token of rusticity in the simulated arcadia is the song of the labourers.
Kayaler Bagan was a special place for lovers of wildlife as birds rarely seen elsewhere used to be sighted there. The orchard originally covering 27 acres has shrunk to 17.82. Recently acquired by the government for Rs 3 crore, it was brought to the public eye in mid-1960s by amateur ornithologist Pradyot Kumar Sengupta.
But thanks to political support, human habitation was fast encroaching. Of late, TV serials used to be shot there. Revellers added to the damage already done by the TV crew.
In 1978, the World Wildlife Fund for India, Zoological Survey of India and Prakriti Sansad, an NGO, launched movements for it be accorded reserve forest status. What they failed to get done in decades, sculptor Chintamoni Kar achieved posthumously.
Kayaler Bagan is home or resting place to thrushes, drongos, flycatchers, woodpeckers and eagles, civets, butterflies, epiphytes, ferns and orchids but the Sansad fears it can still be turned a picnic spot. The government is planning to release deer in the garden.