Some months ago, Mr. Arora had taken me to this bird sanctuary on the Noida side of Yamuna- ‘Okhala Pakshi Vihar’. I loved the water body, but I could not realize its significance. However, with news of various constructions to facilitate the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and NCR appearing in newspapers almost everyday, this bird sanctuary could have become a great attraction for the visitors from far and near. And this can become a pride of Noida, if Noida Authority and Delhi Government promote it well.
The UP government notified the area on its side in 1990 as a sanctuary and perhaps Delhi government will also do that very soon for the area falling under it. However, it will need combined efforts of many agencies such as DDA, PWD, forest and environment department, and other land owning agencies, to make the place worth its importance.
Okhla Bird Sanctuary, with a spread over 4 sq km, might have come into existence in 1960s or 1950s with the construction of the Okhla Barrage and play host to over 300 bird species. However with continued long neglect by the agencies managing the area over the years, some 50 species had stopped coming. Between September and March the place is really alive with the arrival of the birds from central Asia, north Europe, northeast and the Himalayas.
Frequent visitors are: Bitterns from the northeast and Bangladesh, Eurasian Golden Oriole, various duck varieties like pochards, gadwalls. Tufted ducks and coots, black and brown headed gulls from Central Asia, White-throated kingfisher, Pled kingfisher, rose ringed parakeet, Black kite, and the Great Egret as well as Hume’s Warbler, Great Flamingo, Painted Stork, Green Bee-eater, Spotbilled duck
Agencies concerned must pull all its strength and will to develop both the sides of Yamuna, the river revered by all Indians between ITO bridge to Okhala Barrage and make it a world class water body that can attract birds and so tourists from far and near to watch and enjoy them. Perhaps, the Commonwealth Games 2010 will be the best reason to do that.
I came to know through media that Anand Arya who lives in Noida, is a keen bird watcher. Surprisingly I came to know of Anand because of a marriage function at my Noida residence in which he visited our residence in Noida. His white hair locks were unique and reminded me of Dr.Satyen Bose, the famous scientist in my Presidency College days. Many like him under ‘Delhi Bird’ have taken up the cause of Noida Bird Sanctuary. I wish it came up as a class one.