Delay in kudimaramathu works for want of funds keeps migratory birds off Vedanthangal

With an acute shortage of funds with the Public Works Department, which had already impacted farmers and irrigation activities, delaying the annual kudimaramathu (maintenance of water bodies with participation of local farmers) scheme, the migration of birds to the historical Vedanthangal bird sanctuary has been hit.
Water inflow into Vedanthangal has been hit due to poor maintenance and lack of funds
Water inflow into Vedanthangal has been hit due to poor maintenance and lack of funds

Chennai

According to forest department sources, hundreds of migratory Pelicans are now preferring Maruvathur as there is no adequate water in Vedanthangal. The traditional practice is to open the Vedanthangal bird sanctuary by September, but the lake is now only 50 per cent full even as its upper water stream tank at Vaiyavoor tank is full, sources said. 
“Bird watchers and ornithologists are upset over the poor water management in Chengalpet and Kancheepuram districts that had delayed the arrival of stormwater into the historical bird sanctuary, affecting the migration season. Opening of Vedanthangal bird sanctuary is getting delayed in the recent years and there is a need for better water management and long-term solution to Vedanthangal bird sanctuary,” said KVRK Thirunaranan, founder, The Nature Trust. 
“Providing adequate water to Vedanthangal not only benefits birds but also the farmers as the water discharge enriched with bird droppings encourages the concept of organic farming thereby reducing the usage of fertilisers,” said K Sekar, a farmer based in Chengalpet near Karikilli. 
“There are 27 water bodies interconnected to Vedanthangal and Maduranthagam lakes awaiting maintenance works. In the case of Vedanthangal bird sanctuary, there is a shortage of funds,” said a PWD official when contacted. Last year, Rs 4 crore was proposed to renovate the water channels to Vedanthangal and modify the shutter gates, but due to fund shortage, the project has been put on hold. Only the state can now decide about the project,” quipped the official. 
“While Vedanthangal serves as a nesting and roosting ground, Maduranthagam is a feeding ground. Though there are no major encroachments heavy siltation is an issue in water bodies in Kancheepuram and Chengalpet districts. In the case of Maduranthagam, there is a need to remove the silt and again this proposal is pending for more than 20 years,” said another official blaming the government for lack of funds.

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