Saturday, May 22, 2010

Greens cry foul over missing birds

Greens cry foul over missing birds
Environmentalists led by former Justice Saldanha accuse horticulture dept of stealing birds and rabbits from a pond in Cubbon Park; the latter refute charges

An alleged ‘midnight’ operation by the horticulture department involving the shifting of birds and mammals from the lotus pond of Cubbon Park witnessed a noisy protest on Friday by green activists. The activists, led by former Justice M F Saldanha, accused the horticulture department of stealing over 250 birds and 14 rabbits.
Justice Saldanha, who has adopted the lotus pond located in front of the Bal Bhavan, has been maintaining the pond along with several water birds, including poultry, ducks and rabbits.
On Friday morning when Saldanha went to the park for his morning walk, he was shocked as the enclosure set up to house these birds was not only bulldozed but the birds had gone missing.
Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Saldanha said, “This is a clear case of theft. 14 rabbits, 18 turkeys and more than 250 birds belonging to different species have been stolen from the pond. I had bought more than three dozen Giriraja poultry and they too have gone missing. The tragedy is that they all would have been killed or might have been sold to butchers in lieu of money. I’ve spent more than Rs 7 lakh on maintaining the pond.”
He lodged a complaint with the Cubbon Park police against the director of the department. In his complaint, Saldanha said, “In a midnight operation, Jayaram, director of horticulture, and Jayadev, deputy director of horticulture, have demolished bird shelters and committed a theft of birds.”
Officials from the horticulture department, however, refuted all allegations. Jayaram said, “The department has undertaken restoration work and desilting of the pond at a cost of Rs 2 lakh as it was polluted. The department decided to translocate the ducks and waterfowls to the Lalbagh lake. Once the work is done, we will re-release the ducks back into the pond.”


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