Updated: July 14, 2021 5:16:32 am
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Punjab Chief Wildlife Warden to investigate and take action into the strange case of hundreds of parrots dying around jamun and other fruit trees of Faridkot town in Punjab in the months of June and July — a phenomenon that has been persistent for the last five years.
Noting that “it is difficult to give a clear finding as to why the deaths of parrots were taking place” from the material filed in the court, the NGT bench has said that the “reason for the deaths of such large numbers of birds needs to be looked into.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, HC Arora, senior advocate Punjab and Haryana High Court and a social activist who filed the plea in the NGT after at least 400 birds were found dead near jamun trees in the premises of the DC office (mini-secretariat) Faridkot and other parts of the town in June this year, said that as per details of the dead birds compiled by Shankar Sharma and other birdwatchers of Faridkot, such unusual deaths have been happening since 2017, in June-July during the jamun ripening season.
“Since 2017, hundreds of parrots, pigeons, sparrows are dying near jamun and other fruit trees. This clearly indicates that deaths are happening because some chemical/insecticides are being sprayed on these trees. Nearly a thousand fruit trees in Faridkot (mostly in government offices premises) are owned by the state authorities and they are given out to contractors every year who sell the fruits. To earn extra profits and to get high yields, these contractors are spraying chemicals on the trees leading to the death of the birds. Otherwise, how can birds die only under jamun/fruit trees and that too in the same months every year?” questioned Arora.
Arora in his plea has submitted that the local administration buries the matter every year by terming the deaths a result of ‘severe storm’. “But birdwatchers and environmentalists think that the birds have died on account of some chemicals sprayed on jamun trees,” the plea says.
As per the details of birds dying in Faridkot since 2017, compiled by the birdwatchers and submitted by Arora in the NGT, a large number of parrots and pigeons were found dead in Faridkot on June 26, 2017, in the court premises and Civil Hospital road. “However, the administration immediately swept those places and took away dead birds to some unknown location.”
“Then on July 4, 2018, a large number of parrots were found dead at a local rest house, near the river in Krishna Farms, Brijendra College, and the men employed by the contractor said that they had been spraying the fruit trees in the last 24 hours. On June 20, 2019, again hundreds of parrots and pigeons were found dead outside the Civil Hospital and behind Mini secretariat as well as near the telephone exchange and the rest house. On June 28, 2020, hundreds of baglas (herons) and parrots were found dead near the rest house on the premises of Brijendra College and on Railway road. On July 18, 2020, similarly, hundreds of pigeons were found dead on the premises of the Civil Hospital. “The officers then claimed that those birds died on account of a sandstorm. However, a closer examination of the birds revealed that they had died on account of inhaling some chemical.”
On June 11, 2021, again hundreds of parrots were found dead on the premises of DC office Faridkot and other places in the town. “Again the administration attributed to the deaths to a sudden and severe sandstorm, whereas environmentalists and bird lovers again alleged that the birds had died on the account of some chemical sprayed on the jamun trees,” says the plea in NGT.
“We had pleaded before the NGT to pass directions to the administration to not permit contractors to spray trees for their profits and save lives of innocent birds dying in Faridkot,” says Arora.
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