August 10, 2021 6:20:46 am
Maneka Gandhi, Minister of Women and Child Development Monday came down heavily on the Chandigarh administration for its bird aviary project, stating that “this is not the time to start this illegal and expensive venture and this is cage for the birds.”
The action in response to a representation to the Secretary, Animal Welfare Board, sent by RK Garg, president of Second Innings Association.
The UT Administration was coming up with a walk-through bird aviary and had floated a tender on July 22.
“It has been brought to my notice that the Chandigarh administration has brought out a tender on July 22,2021 asking to buy 1500 rare exotic birds for a walk-in aviary. This is illegal. No one is allowed to sell birds in this country and sellers are regularly caught and jailed. By asking sellers to sell birds to you – many of which are not bred in India but smuggled from other countries where they are becoming increasingly rare – is breaking all the CITES international laws. For a government to encourage criminals is not correct,” said Gandhi in her letter to Administrator, VP Singh Badnore.
She added that all collection of animals or birds for public display comes under the title of zoo. “No zoo can be started in the country without the permission of the Central Zoo Authority. This has not been taken. At a time when India is host to Bird Flu which is zoonotic, this is not the time to start this illegal and expensive venture,” she added in her letter.
Gandhi also specified that “the current zoos are in a mess with high mortality…This is a waste of money to start a new zoo when the old zoos are not being upgraded in terms of housing for animals, breeding or food. Several high courts, including the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, have forbidden the caging of birds. This is a cage,” Gandhi specified.
The Minister also mentioned that “since the sale of these birds is illegal there is no open market and no fixed price for them. Therefore, there is a likelihood of kickbacks in the sale to whichever officer is involved in the decision. This will also lead to allegations of corruption on the whole administration specially the people who have originated the idea.”
She further said, “Hundreds of objections have been raised by residents against making of such Aviary when Chandigarh already has an Open Bird Sanctuary in Sector 21. I would suggest that this be stopped immediately as it is already becoming a scandal. The report on this will go to the MOEF and PMO today.”
Talking to The Indian Express, RK Garg said, “Caging of birds is against the directions issued by AWB and various high courts and the Supreme Court, but the Chandigarh Forest and wild life department is making cages to cage 1,500 birds. There are questions asked about purchase of birds from open market through a tender. In all this a very good entity named city forest three years ago could not be maintained and new project started– a pet way of the administration to ignore old projects and start new ones.”
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