The state forest department’s proposal to turn a 20-bigha forested plot in Baranagar into an aviary has been verbally approved by the chief minister.
According to sources in Writers’ Buildings, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee showed interest in developing a bird sanctuary in the Bengal Immunity complex on Tobin Road. The central government industrial unit is closed now.
The chief minister’s interest prompted Mira Chatterjee, the principal secretary (forest), and Atanu Raha, the principal chief conservator of forest, to convene an emergency meeting with other forest officials last week. The divisional forest officer (Calcutta), N. Mazedar Rahman, was directed to carry out an inspection of the area and submit a report.
“I visited the plot on Sunday and took a number of photographs to highlight the prospect of the proposed bird sanctuary,” said Rahman, who is scheduled to file the report this week.
The residents of the area had got in touch with the forest department following attempts by realtors to grab the plot, which has become a natural aviary. Metro reported the tussle between the residents and the realtors last week.
“It is true that the plot inside the closed industrial unit has become a natural habitat of about 20,000 egrets and various other species of birds, including migratory ones,” said a forest department official, adding that the department is exploring ways to use it as a sanctuary.
There is a 20-feet wide pucca road inside the compound’s boundary wall. The forest department officials feel it can be used by bird watchers.
“If the chief minister takes up the matter with the central government, then the land issue will be resolved and it will be easier for us to set up the proposed sanctuary,” said a senior forest official.