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People in Rajasthan village protect ponds for birds

PTI 20 Nov 2014, 9:56:52 AM IST

Udaipur: A village in southern Rajasthan has scripted a heart warming conservation story by refusing to allow fishing or any other activity in two ponds, leaving them exclusively for birds, including migratory ones.  

Manar village, located on Chittorgarh road about 40 km from here, is one of the emerging places for bird watching in the desert state, where many communities have been carrying forward the legacy of protecting environment at any cost.  

Villagers, who are affectionate to birds, have unanimously decided not to allow leasing of ponds for fishing as it will disturb the habitat of their winged friends.  

“The entire village has always been against any activity having potential to disturb the ecology of the two ponds in the village.

The area is a habitat of birds and migratory birds come here in large numbers in winter season, making the pond like a paradise,” Onkar Manaria, Sarpanch (headman) of the village told PTI.

“Due to our (villagers') objection, Zila Parishad and fisheries department never awarded fishing contract for the ponds as the birds would not get adequate food.  

“Another reason for objecting to fishing contract is that we are fundamentally against killing of fishby humans,” he said.

Having a population of 6,000, Manar has emerged as a favorite site for many bird lovers because of efforts by villagers who have also planted many trees on the banks of the ponds so that birds in large numbers can come and make it their habitat.

“We do not use water of the ponds either for drinking or for irrigation and do not allow anyone to pollute the water.  There is no question of fishing,” another villager said.  

Sarpanch Manaria said that many trees have been planted around the ponds and some trees would also be planted in the middle of the ponds when the water level decreases in summer so that more birds can find place to make their nests.  

He said that the villagers were also against any development activity near the area which can affect nature.  

These two ponds are among nearly 80 water bodies in Udaipur division comprising the city of lakes Udaipur, Banswara, Dungarpur and nearby areas where exotic winged guests are seen during the winter season.