Keoladeo Ghana National Park , Bharatpur or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary which is amongst India’s premier wildlife sanctuaries is in the grim situation due to lack of water.
It is one of the best bird preserves in the world. The park was created by the erstwhile Maharaja – Suraj Mal, in the 18th century. The sanctuary was created so as to supply a regular stock of waterfowls to the royal kitchen.
The park was accorded the status of a sanctuary in the year 1956 and in 1982 declared as a national park. The sanctuary supports a large number of water birds, including many rare species
Air of Despair among Bird Watchers
There is an air of despair among bird watchers and officials at the Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary. The rains have played truant so far and the swamps are dry. Without aquatic life, that is food for the migratory birds, many of the winged visitors may not show up this winter, which is bad news for tourism.
Last year’s monsoon was really good for the region, with more than 800 mm of rainfall recorded, but this year so far there has been only 96 mm of rainfall in the district. The sanctuary urgently needs water, otherwise the birds would lose interest, and this would naturally affect tourism. Already hotels outside the sanctuary are running almost empty now.
Though there are half a dozen projects in the pipeline to bring in water, work has not begun on any of them. The nearby Panchna and Ajan dams cannot meet the water requirements of the big sanctuary. At sanctuary, they need lots of water to sustain aquatic life on which the birds feed.
The Rajasthan Government is working on a project to arrange regular supply of water through a pipeline from a Yamuna canal.
Two years ago UNESCO had threatened to de-recognize Keoladeo as a world heritage site as there was no water in the swamps. The threat again looms large.