At least 200 egrets including chicks died in Tangla town of Udalguri district.
The Tangla Municipal Committee has cut down some bamboo plants, where many egrets had built their nests.
This action by the Tangla town Municipal Committee was taken citing apprehension of spread of Covid 19 by the droppings of these birds.
The committee cited that the droppings of the egret birds are unhygienic to the environment and can spread Covid 19 virus.
The birds had built their nests in the bamboo groves during the ongoing breeding season.
Earlier this month, Tangla Municipal Committee, in a letter on June 8 had directed five residents of ward numbers 1 and 2 of the area to cut the bamboo plants in their premises.
The names of the residents are –
1. Mahendra Deka, Ward no. 1
2. Rajat Bhattacharjee, Ward no. 1
3. Lokjit Sutar, Ward no. 1
4. Geeta Das, Ward no. 2 and
5. Amiyo Narzary, Ward no. 2.
The notice, signed by the Executive Officer of the Tangla Municipal Committee, read –
“Your neighbours have complained that the egrets nesting in your bamboo groves are destroying the environment with their urine and droppings. This can also spread Covid 19 virus. You are hereby asked to cut the bamboo plants in your premises and create a hygienic living condition in the area.”
When the owners of the bamboo groves did not cut the plants within the specified time-frame, the local administration stepped in and felled the plants.
Reacting to the recent incident, Director of Nature’s Beckon, Soumyadeep Dutta in a video message stated –
“Destroying the habitat and nests of birds are treated as a severe crime under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Protection of wildlife is a constitutional duty of every Indian.
The action taken by the Tangla Municipal Committee is unconstitutional. In less than one month, the birds would have flown away. It might be difficult for the new hatchlings to survive after being separated from their mothers.
Local people alleged that many unhatched eggs were destroyed and new-borns died when the bamboo plants were cut and the nests fell to the ground.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday also directed State Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya to look into the tragic incident.
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) June 25, 2021