Tuesday November 19, 2019
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Organisation in Rajasthan Constructing Beautiful Houses for Birds

These bird houses come in different colours and designs

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Organisation, Rajasthan, Birds
Till date, over 30,000 bird houses have been built by the organisation in just over a year. Pixabay

At a time when the builders across the world are busy building world class houses for humans, an organisation in Rajasthan is constructing beautiful and colourful houses for birds which promise accommodation ranging between one bedroom- hall-kitchen (BHK)-5 BHK for the avians.

The NGO Apna Sansthan, since May 2018, has been caring for birds in search of a roof under the scorching sun and heavy rains. Till date, over 30,000 bird houses have been built by the organisation in just over a year, says Apna Sansthan founder (Jaipur region) Ashok Sharma.

These bird houses come in different colours and designs.

“They are available in four variants — Wooden House, Mud House, Hard Board House and Stable House. The Wooden houses are decorated houses which are also water proof. They are little expensive as its costing and carving takes time and resources,” he said.

Organisation, Rajasthan, Birds
An organisation in Rajasthan is constructing beautiful and colourful houses for birds which promise accommodation ranging between one bedroom- hall-kitchen (BHK)-5 BHK. Pixabay

“The mud houses are mostly in demand in Rajasthan. We order potters to make these coloured houses. Around 10,000 such pots are being supplied across Rajasthan, of which Jaipur’s share remains around 3,000.

“One piece costs around Rs 60 with transport charges, which is quite economic and hence people go with it,” he added.

He next “dreamed” of making bird houses of hardboard.

“However, here I required the help of manufacturers who preferred donating Rs 2 per piece after hearing the noble cause. One piece cost around Rs 6. With their donations, I ordered 20,000 such bird houses where 3,000 were kept for my school, and the rest were distributed elsewhere.”

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Sharma also runs a school here with classes up to the 8th standard.

The next in line were stable houses. One of such rare houses for birds was constructed in Jhunjhunu. There was a 10-floored apartment block created for birds which accommodates 1,100 houses.

“The total expense for building this stable house was Rs 3 lakh. However, people wanted to contribute for a cause for these birds who in summers and during rains search for shelter,” Sharma said.

“Basically, it’s a huge wall which has around 1,100 pockets for birds to rest.”

Organisation, Rajasthan, Birds
The NGO Apna Sansthan, since May 2018, has been caring for birds in search of a roof under the scorching sun and heavy rains. Pixabay

Sharma runs Apna Sansthan with Vinod Melana from Bhilwara who is the secretary of the organisation started in 2016.

The NGO is also engaged in water harvesting, sapling plantation, flora and fauna conservation, among many other activities.

According to the office bearers, it was started taking inspiration from Amritadevi Vishnoi who sacrificed her life along with ther lives of her daughters and 363 other people to save trees in 1730.

Narrating her story, Sharma said: “A party of the then Jodhpur ruler Maharaja Abhay Singh reached her village to fell ‘Khejri’ trees to construct his new palace when Amrita Devi protested against the royal attempt to cut trees as it is prohibited in the Bishnoi religion.

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“She told them that cutting trees was an insult to her faith and she would rather give away her life to save these trees, saying that even if a tree is saved at the cost of one’s head, it’s worth it.

“Thereafter, the axes brought to cut the trees severed her head and of her daughters Asu, Ratni and Bhagu, who had offered their heads too,” he said.

Soon Bishnois fro 83 villages gathered and it was decided that one volunteer would sacrifice his or her life for every green tree to be cut. In this process, many lost their lives and 363 of them become martyrs,” he added.

Apna Sansthan has planted 5 lakh saplings in 7,200 villages in the state and are also celebrating the anniversaries of the plantings.

The bird houses are being distributed in birthday and anniversary parties as return gifts. Besides, new townships are being donated these bird houses.

“We conceived a better implementation of this idea when we attended the Paryawaran Kumbh organised in Varanasi in November 2018. Delegates from 146 nations attended this gathering, while interacting with them gave us the idea of how we can take up the bird houses project,” Sharma said.

At the Sharma-run school here, students and birds play and even eat together during lunchtime, which is somewhat of a rare scene to see.

“This is how we can build a relationship between kids and nature,” he says. (IANS)

Next Story

Sambhar Lake Becomes Death Bed for Large Number of Birds

The excessive salt in the water led to the poisoning, causing hypernectremia, which is water deprivation due to sodium intoxication

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Sambhar Lake
After witnessing drought for many years, this year the Sambhar Lake, however, brimmed with water due to heavy rains. The inflow made the water toxic due to the change in its alkalinity. Pixabay

A deadly game of survival is on in the Sambhar lake of Rajasthan for decades — salt versus birds. The result came a few days back: thousands of birds were seen floating dead in the lake and their carcasses scattered on the edge of the 12 km catchment area.

The dead birds seen floating in this largest inland salt lake in the country, include plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet among many other migratory birds.

Harsh Vardhan, a renowned environmentalist, told IANS that no forest department official has ever been appointed to look after the lake. The lake comes under the Hindustan Salt Limited, a public limited enterprise formed in the post independence era to manufacture salt. Its job is to manufacture salt. So who should look after the lake; this has never been decided, he said.

The lake has not been handed to the forest department, and the area, where birds come, is no one’s land. Sambhar lake may be a part of the Hindustan Salt Ltd, but the company has nothing to do with the birds, he says.

The chief wildlife warden Arindam Tomar has maintained silence over the issue.

Even, Principal secretary, forest and environment Shreya Guha has washed her hands off the issue. All that she did was to a give statement that the Jaipur and Nagaur District Collectors have been asked to remove the bodies. She added that 4,800 birds have been dead till date, which is disputed by experts like Harsh Vardhan, who say that counting is not easy in the vast area.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday held a meeting on the issue.

Sambhar Lake
A deadly game of survival is on in the Sambhar Lake of Rajasthan for decades — salt versus birds. Pixabay

Meanwhile, Harsh Vardhan questioned the presence of several private salt miners and entrepreneurs, who have set shops in and around the lake. “They dig tube wells which suck water from the land making it parched. The remaining water gets evaporated leaving crystal of salts which are packed and sold in gunny bags,” he said.

Lack of water and drought has haunted Sambhar lake for years. State government has been spending huge money to woo tourists through activities like mobiking, balloning, race, Bollywood shoots, etc. A resort on the rim of the lake showcases salt manufacturing for the tourists. Crores of Rupees have been spent on the upkeep of the narrow gauge train and watch stations, but birds and conversation issues were always overlooked.

As Sambhar lake went dry, concentration of salt deposits came up within it. The water from surrounding rivers, meant to flow into the lake, was diverted by the miners.

After witnessing drought for many years, this year the lake, however, brimmed with water due to heavy rains. The inflow made the water toxic due to the change in its alkalinity.

The excessive salt in the water led to the poisoning, causing hypernectremia, which is water deprivation due to sodium intoxication, Vardhan said.

It seems birds which came in high numbers due to high water quantity this season died due to hypernectermia after consuming their feed which is the planktons, the microrganisms found in water.

Sambhar Lake
The dead birds seen floating in this largest inland salt lake i.e Sambhar Lake in the country, include plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet among many other migratory birds. Wikimedia Commons

The only step that has ever been taken by any government in the state was in 1981 when it was decided to designate the site as wetland and was renamed as the Ramsar site.

According to an estimate, around 60,000 birds visited the lake in a year which has come down to less than 20,000.

Vardhan says that if the lake remains with the Hindustan Salt Limited, which has been a loss making unit since years or if it is handed over to the private operators, who do excessive mining of water, then the lake and the birds are sure to die.

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Experts like him want the lake to be handed over to the forest department which can develop it as a wetland. (IANS)