Indian Decade

A Gurgaon Shame

In the Delhi’s ‘Millennium City,’ progress is definitely not going to the birds.

Access to nature and outdoor activities are things that one might long for as a resident of New Delhi. Located in the plains, the city is absolutely flat with no interesting slopes, bends and heights to navigate through as you crisscross its huge expanse.

The closest thing we have to nature is the Yamuna River, which runs through Delhi and has, over the years, been reduced to a muddy and smelly trickle not much different from sewer water. Yet, not satisfied with this decay, we are now doing damage to other rare pockets of peace, greenery and nature in our vicinity.

The Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is located right outside Gurgaon, a popular Delhi suburb which is also fondly referred to by many as India's ‘Millennium City.’ Gurgaon is a perfect example of India’s ‘story of growth,’ an area with a large majority of foreign companies’ headquarters, mainly because of its close proximity to the Delhi International Airport and a state government that has cannily encouraged private real estate development.

Huge corporate offices, condominium projects and malls make up the Gurgaon skyline. But, it's a development that has been less beneficial to the birds at Sultanpur. Last week, newspaper reports showed shocking images of the sanctuary's lake—its lifeline—completely dry. The lake bed has become a graveyard for rare species of fish. The Sultanpur Sanctuary is a ‘centrally-protected’ national park and bird sanctuary. It has hundreds of species of avian and aquatic residents, and many resident and migratory birds. The lake was spread over nearly 90 percent of the Park’s 359 acres, and it drying up is sure to wreak havoc on animal life there.

It boggles the mind that a national park on the outskirts of the capital and one which enjoys ‘central protection’ has come to this. It's time we rescued the bounty of nature from those who claim to ‘protect’ it.